House to consider the Walker operating budget, with cuts - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, October 19, 2021
HomePoliticsHouse to consider the Walker operating budget, with cuts

House to consider the Walker operating budget, with cuts

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On a vote of 24-13, the Alaska House of Representatives adopted HB 39 as the working operating budget, replacing the proposed operating budget of Gov. Michael Dunleavy with the one offered by the previous governor.

HB 39 will now be debated on the House floor before being passed to the Senate for its consideration.

The budget the House will now debate today is essentially the Gov. Bill Walker proposed budget, with amendments passed in House Finance Committee that bring spending down by $257 million and change. House Finance chose not to work from the Dunleavy budget but from last year’s operating budget as their starting document.

Members will be debating a budget that spends $700 million more than what the Dunleavy Administration says the state has in revenues.

The Democrat-led House allowed little debate before Majority Leader Steve Thompson called for unanimous consent. The vote fell nearly along caucus lines, with three members excused and with Rep. Laddie Shaw breaking from the Republican minority to vote in favor of adopting the replacement budget.

Debate on HB 39 will begin today when the House is gaveled in at 10 am. Also on the schedule is HB 40, the Mental Health Trust budget.

The budget forward-funds education for Fiscal Year 2021, but with $5.3 billion in spending, would require more than half of the Permanent Fund dividend that Gov. Dunleavy has proposed, as the governor has calculated $3,000 dividends for Alaskans by using the pre-Walker-era formula for divining how much oil wealth Alaskans should receive.

Voting in favor of adopting the Walker budget was Reps. Matt Claman, Harriett Drummond, Bryce Edgmon, Zack Fields, Neal Foster, Sara Hannan, Grier Hopkins, Jennifer Johnston, Andy Josephson, Gary Knopp, Chuck Kopp, Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Bart LeBon, Gabrielle LeDoux, Laddie Shaw, Ivy Spohnholz, Andi Story, Louise Stutes, Geran Tarr, Steve Thompson, Chirs Tuck, Tammie Wilson, Adam Wool, and Tiffany Zulkosky.

Against the adoption of the Walker budget were Rep. Ben Carpenter, David Eastman, Sharon Jackson, DeLena Johnson, Mark Neuman, Lance Pruitt, Sara Rasmussen, George Rauscher, Josh Revak, Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, Dave Talerico, Cathy Tilton, and Sarah Vance.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Sounds like a great opportunity for Dunleavy to exercise Line-Item-Veto. Don’t forget to mail him a box of Red Pens, the direction this Legislature is currently on, he’ll need it! I look forward to him doing so.

  • A $700 million budget gap and a $1400 Dividend (cost: $875 million). So really we have a $175 million surplus. If we can cut another $150 million, then we can afford a “full” $500 Dividend.
    Remember – no more borrowing from the CBR!

    • Our current $12 billion debt to the CBR/BRF is a funny deal.
      Article 9, Section 17…”If an appropriation is made from the budget reserve fund, until the amount appropriated is repaid, the amount of money in the general fund available for appropriation at the end of each succeeding fiscal year shall be deposited in the budget reserve fund. The legislature shall implement this subsection by law. [Amended 1990]”.
      The Legislature every year forward now will be tapping the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve for General Fund spending including Dividends.but somehow there is no money “available for appropriation ” to re-fund the CBR/BRF.
      There is some debate as to whether the CBR/BRF serves a purpose anymore. I believe it does and we should begin re-funding the CBR/BRF by $1 billion/year (beyond the 5.25% annual draw for government and dividends).

      • PS I promise I will objectively look at our oil royalty/tax system.
        But I don’t think we have any credibility until we get our own in-house in order.

        • I agree but let’s also confiscate all savings and checking accounts to go along with PFD confiscation…that will be Progressive instead of just attacking the poorest among us

    • Sorry, no…………cut the 700 million. It’s really not that hard as people want to make it be. The thing about diets it’s best to just jump right in the sooner the better. And the SOA is a bloated fatso; cut the monetary calories now and get it over with.

  • Yesterday evening, I called in to the teleconference on SJR-5 (the Governors resolution to enshrine the PFD into the Alaska Constitution. This teleconference was “part and parcel” to the Governor’s resolution to curb spending and amend the Alaska Constitution to reflect the sanctity of the PFD belonging to Alaskan citizens, not to politicians and left wing advocates that say they “need” Alaskans PFD. I was about #20 on the list. I listened to several proponents of taking the PFD and adding it to the bloated spending of the leftist politicians. They were not interrupted or admonished in any way. When my turn came, I started my discourse with the statement, “I enthusiastically support the Governor’s SJR-5”. The moderator of the teleconference gave me less than two minutes to speak before she cut me off and I heard a robo-voice, telling me to write a letter, instead of orally presenting my position of support of SJR-5. None of the previous speakers voicing opposition to SJR-5 were cut off and proceeded to demonize the Governor’s resolution. Today, I see the majority Alaskan legislature has voted to use walker’s “budget” as a format for the new budget, in opposition to Governor Dunleavey’s resolution to decrease spending and enshrine the PFD in the Alaskan Constitution as “belonging to Alaskan citizens and not politicians”. Evidently, the “moderator” didn’t like my support of SJR-5. I was “muted” and instructed to “write a letter, in lieu of speaking”. I wrote the letter. I think this was a ploy by leftists to negate any positive input on SJR-5. Whatever the case, I was denied my opportunity to “testify in support of SJR-5”. I was not rude, condescending or vulgar in any way, in my words to the teleconference. I didn’t have the opinion the “moderator” was seeking. I was rudely interrupted, muted and instructed to write, instead of speak. The “new face” of Alaskan politicians.

    • Sorry you had a bad experience. I do not agree with the entire premise of SJR-5. The Dividend may be “the peoples money” but we have a corresponding obligation to pay “the peoples bills”. Taxing working Alaskans, or slashing State services to pay Dividends is irresponsible and cannot be implemented under our legislative process where every dollar is fought over by somebody.
      SJR-5 would disembowel our entire State Constitution and the resulting court fight would likely find it in violation of other sections of the constitution.

      • Chris,

        My “bad experience” was a perfect example of the dims trying to control everything, including constituent testimony in a “public” hearing.

        I have lived in Alaska for 68 years. I remember well the “state of the state” both before and after the advent of the PFD. I disagree with your presumption that distributing the PFD to the rightful owners would harm Alaska or the Alaskan Constitution. The disbursement of the PFD to Alaskan citizens who are eligible never had any negative impact on Alaska until the democrats assumed political control. Then, spending, state employment, “education” funding, AMHS and several other money pits seemed to appear out of thin air. Not enough funding for all the liberal policies. Solution? Steal the PFD from the citizens of Alaska, even though it’s like the kid with his finger in the dike. Liberal politicians and public employee unions will go through the remains of the PFD in about 3-4 years if they get the opportunity. Then what? The “democracy” the liberals are expounding is actually socialism. There is not enough and there never will be enough money to fund all the liberal schemes. Period. The PFD is self regulating. If the oil revenue drops, the dividend drops right along with it. If the “politicians” want any part of Alaskans’ PFD, let the people vote on it. Stealing it is another story. “Peoples’ money” is just that. “Peoples’ money”. Not political or union or anyone else’s money. Period.

  • Oops, there goes another three. Based on this vote where is the current vote math for the Consitutional Ammendments? 31 to 26? And that’s without any defections from Stedman or Bishop.


    If the Governor is attempting to consolidate a veto-proof majority I applaud him.

  • Chris Nyman – STOP running for office as a “Republican. You are CLEARLY a socialist democrat – much like Lisa Murkowski. You can only fool us once – unfortunately, Anchorage seems to be pretty liberal, so they may put you back in office. Conservative Republicans hope they don’t. You people who claim to be conservative just to get voted in, by a Red leaning state (like Murkowski and every other Republican who voted for Gov. Walker’s defunct/corrupt “budget) should realize we, the voters, now see you for what you really are – Liberal Democrats. Be honest, the next time you run for office. Hopefully this is your last term in office. And then please move back to Seattle.

  • There is no winning.

    Don’t cut spending = we need an income tax or PFD to pay for services.

    Cut spending = you don’t like the thinner Alaska? Then we need an income tax or PFD to pay for services.

    Who is John Galt?

    • Chay,

      It amazes me that anyone would be against cutting spending. This is not California or Washington state. This is Alaska. There are more people in one “outside” medium sized city than the entire state of Alaska. How does a five billion dollar budget justify itself with that tiny population? Thinner Alaska?? that says to me, you are a recent “immigrant” to Alaska. People with your opinion on taking other peoples’ money is par for the dim course. You must be one of the “recently educated” people, if you don’t know who John Galt is. Try reading “Atlas shrugged”. That should be an eye opener for you.

  • It is time to cut the oil tax credit, because in 2018, BP Alaska made $916 million.

  • This attempt by the House re: Walker budget is to keep them working for 9 months. They passed a large budget for the legislature, @ 7 million. It gives them extra money when any governor doubts they can’t pass the B.S. around. So, while they pretend, they spend on themselves.

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