By Rep. Dan Ortiz
July 11, 2021
The budget forward funds the Alaska Marine Highway System for 18 months, giving more stability for future season schedules. The budget also includes an additional $2.5 million for Pre-K programs, funds to reopen the Wrangell Fish & Game office, funds for DIPAC and Crystal Lake Hatcheries, and a slight increase over the Governor’s compact to the University.
Unique to this year, the budget includes one-time federal COVID-19 emergency funds that will be given directly to local communities, provide tourism relief, and offset other small business and nonprofit lost revenue.
The effective date provision, which didn’t pass last month and was causing a hold-up, passed 28-10 on June 28th. The affirmative vote came after the House approved a Sense of the House agreeing to form a working group that will negotiate solutions to Alaska’s long-term fiscal issues.
Our work is not done. The working group will begin studying and negotiating ASAP, and the entire legislature will be back in special session in August to try to arrive at a long-term fiscal plan for the state. I hope our plan will resolve the long-standing goal of establishing a sustainable, predictable PFD formula. I look forward to hearing from you as I navigate difficult fiscal conversations and decisions. You can email me at Rep.Dan.Ortiz@AKLeg.gov or call my office at 907-247-4672.
Received June 28, 2021 - Published July 11, 2021
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