Governor Signs FY23 State Budget Investments in public safety, education, rural Alaska and infrastructure while saving $1.6 billion
June 30, 2022
“This budget is more than a spending plan; it’s a blueprint for Alaska’s future,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “Budgets should reflect the values and ambitions of the people they are designed for, and I believe this legislation accomplishes that. It strikes the right balance by continuing my administration’s commitment to rebuilding state services like public safety while holding spending in check, adding to our savings, and pointing the economy in the right direction.”
Governor Mike Dunleavy announced his Fiscal Year 2023 budget vetoes on Tuesday. Major accepted budget items include full funding of public education, one-time $57 million Base Student Allocation increase, $2.5 million in additional pre-Kindergarten grants for a total of $5.7 million, and full funding of School Bond Debt Reimbursement and the REAA fund back to 2017.
The governor held a press conference Tuessday joined by members of his cabinet, and public policy leaders from across Alaska to discuss the FY23 state operating and capital budgets. (Click here to watch Tuesday's press conference.) Today the governor signed the budget.
Vetoed projects and services that were priorities of the Alaska Senate Democrats include portions of the Alaska Long Trail, public broadcasting, $27 million in deferred maintenance for the University of Alaska, and Sealaska Heritage Institute’s workforce development program. Senator Tom Begich (D-Anchorage) issued a statement in response to the Governor's announcement.
Begich said, “Working with 61 other lawmakers to craft a reasonable budget for the state is no easy task. The process the legislature took at the beginning of the year was one of inclusion with robust discussions. In the end, this budget included a significant number of the priorities of the Senate Democrats and Alaskans."
“After Governor Dunleavy’s vetoes today [Tuesday], I am happy about the retention of forward-funding for public education, full funding of school bond debt reimbursement and the REAA fund, $3,200 Permanent Fund Dividend to help Alaskans with high energy costs, expansion of food bank infrastructure, and long-needed teacher public health and public safety housing in rural Alaska. These were critical components of the budget," said Begich in his statement.
Begich said, “It is unfortunate that not all priorities were funded. Projects like fully funding the Alaska Long Trail and services like public broadcasting did not survive the Governor’s red pen. These are widely popular projects and services that Alaskans have come to rely on."
“No one gets everything they want in a budgeting process, but the negotiation process was fair. I want to thank the Governor, legislative leadership, and the co-chairs of the Finance committees for including me and the caucus in this process. Alaska can move forward with this budget," said Begich.
“As Alaskans, we all know the surge in oil revenue is temporary. What it buys us is time to continue working together on a fiscal plan that smooths out the inherent volatility in oil revenue. The result will be that Alaskan families will not experience diminished services when revenues are down, and the business community is assured that Alaska’s fiscal house is in order. The first step in that legislative and public policy process is to end the arbitrary political process for funding the PFD that was used starting in 2016 to this year when lawmakers turned to the 50/50 formula. However, a permanent, sustainable solution requires giving the people of Alaska a chance to vote on any change in the formula to be protected in the Constitution. I look forward to working with lawmakers and Alaskans on a long-term, sustainable fiscal plan,” added Governor Dunleavy.
The Dunleavy Administration’s fourth state budget invests in the following:
Protecting all Alaskans – Public Safety, People First Initiative, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons
Protecting Alaskans has been Governor Dunleavy’s number one public policy priority since taking office in December 2018. His public safety budget reflects his unwavering commitment to keeping all Alaskans safe from crime.
Public Education – Accountability
The FY23 budget not only increases funding for Alaska’s public school and university systems; it also brings long-overdue accountability for students’ and parents’ sake.
Investing in Alaska: Ports, Bridges, Airports and More – FY23 Capital Budget
· $117.3 million in state and federal funds for the Village Safe Water program, so more rural communities have safe, clean drinking water and sanitation
Fiscal Responsibility – Savings, Endowments and Line-Item Vetoes
Quoting a news release, Governor Dunleavy carefully examined the increased spending made by lawmakers this year. His objective was to preserve the temporary surplus from higher oil revenues to the greatest extent possible. Reductions were made without harming essential state services. The line-item vetoes total $400 million, and those unspent funds will be deposited into the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR), a rainy-day savings account for years when state revenues are down.
Alaskans Accessing Alaska – Agriculture and Mariculture
The FY23 budget addresses many long-standing issues with infrastructure, public safety, and technology in rural communities.
2022 Permanent Fund Dividend