Budget protects essential services, makes historic cut to government spending
JUNEAU – The Alaska House of Representatives Sunday passed a compromise operating budget that protects essential services, keeps the State of Alaska on track to avoid a damaging shutdown, and reduces government spending to the lowest level in 15 years without dipping into savings.
Leaders from the House and Senate who worked to achieve the compromise agreed to set unrestricted general fund spending at $4.3 billion, a reduction of $190 million compared to last year.
The budget also places $10.6 billion into the constitutionally protected portion of the Permanent Fund, enabling the account to grow for the benefit of future generations and preventing over-spending by future legislatures.
“Essential services vitally important to Alaska’s economy must continue uninterrupted. Today, the House of Representatives did its part to make sure that happens,” Speaker Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham) said. “This is a balanced budget that contains the most significant cuts to occur in a generation and takes a historic step to make sure future legislatures will live within Alaska’s means.”
“Our budget provides certainty to students, elders, and business leaders by investing in essential services,” said Rep. Neal Foster (D-Nome), a co-chair of the House Finance Committee. “We voted to give troopers and prosecutors the tools they need to make Alaska safe, to prevent the Alaska Marine Highway System from stopping service in winter, to make sure the University of Alaska remains a world-class institution, and to protect countless other important programs.”