Largest supplemental in Alaska budget history ... and with a side of drama - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, July 4, 2020
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Largest supplemental in Alaska budget history … and with a side of drama

The Alaska House of Representatives passed a supplemental budget that would pay for the response to the wildfires of 2019, federal program healthcare costs the state is on the hook for, and Alaska Marine Highway System costs that resulted, in part, from shortfalls caused by a strike of ferry workers during the high season.

The $526.2 million bill has $298,6 million of State funding and balance is federal funding. It passed 35-2, with Rep. David Eastman and Mark Neuman voting against it.

The vote came after a raucous session in which Rep. David Eastman of Wasilla was admonished by House Speaker Bryce Edgmon to cease his disruptions to the proceedings or risk being thrown out — it was unclear if he meant thrown out of the House Chambers or expelled from the Legislature altogether, although several staff members were seen thumbing Mason’s Manual. During an at-ease, the House minority Republicans met briefly to discuss Eastman’s behavior and it was unclear if there were enough votes to throw him out of the minority caucus.

After the session ended, discussions continued as to the fate of Eastman, who had apparently worn on every last nerve of some of his fellow legislators. Those talks are underway in the Capitol.

The supplemental budget includes:

  • $120 million of State funds and $143.4 million of federal funds for Medicaid.
  • $110.5 million for wildfires.
  • $8.6 million for Adult Public Assistance, welfare payments previously vetoed by the governor.
  • $8.3 million to restore the Adult Preventive Dental Program, also vetoed by the governor last year.
  • $7.1 million for the Alaska Marine Highway System. This is in addition to the $12.5 million requested by the governor.
  • $6.7 million for the Department of Public Safety to address a shortfall within the Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers due to a lower than expected vacancy rate.
  • $6 million to help the Alaska Psychiatric Institute increase its capacity.
  • $3 million to address the severe damage caused in Anchorage, Kenai, and Mat-Su by the December 2018 earthquake.
  • $150,000 to re-open the District Attorney’s Office in Utqiagvik.
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Written by

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

  • You go Mr Eastman! Give them Commies and RINOs HELL!

    • My thought exactly I would have told Edgeman that I will speak for my constituents at anybtime regardless what he thinks. Its time to put these Legislatures on Notice that the Citizens of Alaska have had enough of their BS

      • Love Eastman!

  • It appears that this supplemental also contains $55M to service the billion dollar bond debt then Governor Bill Walker had the legislature pass a couple years back. This scheme to borrow a billion to give cash to oil exploration companies is snarled up in litigation. The question every citizen ought to be asking their elected officials is why we are trying to appropriate money that is in short supply to pay off a bunch of bankers and other holders of the oil exploration tax credits when the scheme to borrow is still under review by the court system.

    • The oil industry funds the government, employs a vast number of alaskans, funded the permanent fund and forms a vital foundation of our state’s economy. They spent the money they deserve the credits.

  • This will mean that fiscal year 2020 is actually a budget increase over fiscal year 2019 when spending is honestly counted. So far all the rancor about vetoes and budget reductions, and the resulting effort to recall Governor Dunleavy, spending has actually INCREASED! Yes, there have been spending shifts, with the University receiving a tiny reduction and the ferries receiving a larger reduction, and Medicaid, Corrections, and K-12 receiving increases, but the overall result is a year over year spending increase. If the PFD is considered part of spending, which wasn’t the case until recently, then it too has been decreased despite Governor Dunleavy’s efforts to hold the PFD harmless. The losers are people who voted for Dunleavy, Alaskans who count on the PFD, and people who pay municipal property taxes. The winners are Juneau, school administrators, lobbyists, incumbents running for re-election this year, and nonprofits receiving state grants.

    • From my math we all lose. We lose now and we lose later. This nonsense is unsustainable and it is showing no signs of slowing down. If you love the state of Alaska, you need to accept some responsibility for what is happening because the people we’ve elected are doing nothing to help fix the problem.

      • Are you going to define the “problem?” Let me help here-the people you’ve elected are trying to fix what they see is the problem but you have a different idea of the problem. Heheh!
        You think it’s that Alaskans need to suck it up, relative to services, so that this Governor (who was elected on the promise of full PFDs) can fulfill his promise of free money to all.
        Boy, tough noogies.

        • You don’t know what the problem is Bill? It’s been ongoing for years and is the central theme the legislature has been dealing with year in and year out. Walker was elected in large part because he said he would cut the budget, Dunleavy was elected in large part because he said he would cut the budget. The problem is our state spends more money than it brings in, this is obvious to anyone who reads the news.

          • Then how do you square that with wanting to pay out those full PFDs. How is that reducing the budget? It’s not, by the way, but this governor and you are in favor of that kind of increase and that is precisely why this governor is in his Recall mess.
            Anyway, if you and I were on the committee that decided where the budget gets cut I suspect we wouldn’t be having this conversation-but we aren’t. We’ll just disagree as to how the budget fares but nobody’s worried about next year’s as Dunleavy won’t be here. Heheh!

  • Interesting, the speaker at first said he could call a vote of the body to formally try to stop him from talking. But the Speaker would give a last chance to avoid that. But Rep Eastman said go ahead and call the vote. He wanted it put to the vote the speaker had offered. But the Speaker refused to have the vote he had just threatened to invoke. And then shut it down.

    • He’s pretty gutless. Probably should watch your back though. I suspect he went after me once. Then he found out I was untouchable. Lol.

  • I’m shocked that the Dunleavy Administration requested the largest supplemental budget in history. Is the Governor trying appease those who might might vote for the recall?

    • I really don’t think that the people who want Governor Dunleavy recalled will be satisfied with anything but removal from office.

  • $110 million additional for Wildfires.
    Might want to consider calling in the jumbo air tanker this year…could actually save money and decrease the amount of smoke in the air over the summer season.

    • You’re kidding, Steve. Fire season is a hugely profitable time of year for thousands of firefighters from the Bush. “Let it burn.”

  • Score: 35 Wheat 2 Chaff

  • Thanks, David and Mark!
    David, you get 86’d by Peoples Assistant Co-Governor Edgmon, you’re a hero in our book.
    Mark, you get Honorable Mention. Surely you (expl del) off somebody important on our Peoples Lobbyist-Legislator Team and for that we sincerely thank you.
    Don’t give up, you two.
    Keep chumming the political waters, get them to eat their own, and remember their Achilles heel, your Proverbs 16:18 .

  • Kubota2
    How is Juneau a winner here? Did the State somehow compensate Juneau? Are you talking about the City or the old French Gold Miner? Please explain.

  • Why did Tilton and Johnson vote for this?

    • This is the supplemental the governor asked for with very few changes. Eastman is attacking the governor now because of that Medicaid bill the state has to pay. He and Pat Martin of Alaska Right to Life are knifing the tall guy.

  • He’s pretty gutless. Probably should watch your back though. I suspect he went after me once. Then he found out I was untouchable. Lol.

  • Found this today on the “landmine”…
    Thought is was quite appropriate for where we are at.
    “Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work, and then they get elected and prove it,” as P. J. O’Rourke aptly put it. 

    • Democrats are mostly younger people that can be insecure and want everything given to them. Republicans are older people who know the ways of the world and pay taxes to support the Democrats social agendas. Fixed it for you.

      • Couldn’t have said it better, Greg! Perfect response.

  • No more money for API, teh half a billion doolar contract was to take care of the problems that still are not taken care of. Hospitals in Anchorage, have additional beds that are not used. Those beds in API are suppose to be on a temporary basis, not long term. They need to look at the temporary situation and plan accordingly. No more money…..they can’t manage what they have…new contract or not.

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