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JUNEAU— Governor Bill Walker Wednesday submitted four major changes, adding $350,000 to his fiscal year 2016 (July 1, 2015 – June 31, 2016) budget.
Governor Walker reallocated $6.3 million within the Department of Transportation from roads and highways on a one-time basis to ensure the ferry system can continue services already scheduled.
“There are many families who already purchased their ferry tickets for their once-in-a-lifetime vacations to Alaska,” Governor Walker said. “We want to ensure that service is available to them, as well as to Alaskans, in the coming year. We don’t want to balance the budget on the backs of the traveling public.”
Governor Walker also amended his budget to ensure continued funding for programs that help the homeless. He added $9.2 million for the basic homeless assistance program.
“Taking the money out was an unintended consequence of submitting a stripped-down capital budget,” said Office of Management and Budget Director Pat Pitney. “Putting the money back in is a cost-effective way to address issues that could be costly for our communities. It reduces overall costs in corrections and health and social services.”
Governor Walker also restored $7 million for community jails, which gives Department of Corrections more time to renegotiate jail contracts with communities based on use and faster transitions to correctional facilities.
Lastly, Governor Walker reduced $20 million more from Medicaid funding—for a total of $26.6 million in reductions from state spending on Medicaid. About $6.6 million was reduced from Medicaid funding in anticipation of federal money to be received through Medicaid expansion; Governor Walker proposed to cut an additional $20 million from Medicaid to advance Medicaid reform.
To view the amendments to the FY16 budget, visit https://www.omb.alaska.gov/html/budget-report/fy-2016-budget/amended.html.