The Legislature forwarded Governor Michael Dunleavy a bill which added $314 million in new spending to the FY 2021 operating budget, Tuesday Dunleavy announced he used his red pen to cut that number down by $210 million.
The enacted FY 2021 operating, mental health, and capital budget, including previously enacted legislation, includes $4,517.3M in Unrestricted General Funds, $905.9M in Designated General funds, $748.4M Other State funds, and $3,855.5M Federal funds.
“My administration worked to make a number of difficult, but necessary, decisions. The actions I’ve taken with this budget provide stability in times of uncertainty and allows our State agencies to maintain their core functions of serving Alaskans. We have been presented the unique opportunity to capitalize on a one-time fund source through the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, allowing us to reshape pieces of the final FY 2021 budget. Now, as we face a drop in oil prices and face a global health pandemic, is not the time to irresponsibly increase our State’s budget,” said Dunleavy.
Line-item vetoes included the reduction of debt payments on behalf of other entities; a reduction in funding to the University of Alaska to the level agreed to in the 2019 compact between the University of Alaska Board of Regents and the Office of the Governor; and the elimination of one-time State general funds for programs that may qualify for funding under the Federal CARES Act.
Dunleavy used the opportunity to express his frustration on not being able to allocate a full statutory PFD in the budget, "With the Legislature still in session, it is my hope, and the hope of thousands of Alaskans, that they act now to fix this glaring oversight. All across the world, leaders and economists are looking to mimic the PFD. Yet here in Alaska, our leaders are doing the opposite. I will continue to call on the Legislature to follow the law, utilize the statutory calculation for the Permanent Fund Dividend, and get money into the hands of laid off workers throughout Alaska. Call it a PFD, call it a distribution, call it a COVID-19 emergency relief payment; it does not matter."
Additional details on the budget can be found at this link.