FLOOR DEBATE ON THE BUDGET BEGINS TODAY
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.