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    Alaska Policy Forum blasts Legislature’s ‘oversized and irresponsible’ state budget

    By AlaskaWatchman.com

    The state budget approved by the State Legislature on June 16 is irresponsible, oversized and unsustainable, according to the nonpartisan think tank Alaska Policy Forum (APF).

    The nonprofit group, which monitors fiscal and policy issues, released a scathing critique of the $8.2 billion dollar budget, calling it a “disservice to Alaskans” and one that could lead to new taxes, further diminished state savings, and contraction of the private sector economy.

    The above data from the Alaska Policy Forum shows the actual state budget as opposed to what the budget should be if it grew based off of population and inflation.

    The June 17 statement referenced APF’s recently released “Responsible Alaska Budget,” which found that the largest budget the state should approve in fiscal year 2022 is $6.18 billion. Any more than that and the state’s fiscal crisis will continue to spiral out of control, Alaska Policy Forum warns.

    In passing a $8.2 billion dollar budget for fiscal year 2022 the Legislature has created a “$2.02 billion discrepancy,” APF noted. It added that Alaska simply cannot afford this level of spending considering its recent dependency on exhausted state saving accounts.

    From 2001 to 2021, the state budget has grown on an average annual basis by 4.7%, which is nearly double that of population growth plus inflation. The proposed budget exceeds the previous budget by more than $2 billion despite a state population that has actually shrunk the past four years in a row.

    “Nothing was solved with the budget passed by the Legislature yesterday,” Tim Barto, vice president of Alaska Policy Forum said June 17. “Meaningful, necessary spending cuts were not adopted, leading to further funding of big government that intrudes on the liberty of Alaskans.”
    The Alaska Policy Forum statement on the budget concludes with a dire warning.

    “The long-term effects of such an irresponsible budget and oversized government include the adverse possibility of new taxes, further diminished state savings accounts, and contraction of our vital private sector economy,” it warned. “Either way, Alaskans lose.”

    In addition to being unsustainable, the budget approved by the Legislature stripped out previous wording that made it clear the state would not fund abortion. It also sets the next Permanent Fund Dividend at just $525, which is nearly $3,000 less than what the state statute requires.

    The budget now heads to Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s desk where he can either approve it as is, make line-item vetoes or reject the entire budget and send it back to the Legislature for a do over.

    TAKING ACTION

    • Click here to contact Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

    Click here to support the Alaska Watchman.

    Joel Davidson
    Joel Davidson
    Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.

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    10 Comments

    1. This is caused by greedy politicians. Point blank. There is no other reason for it and to make excuses for it is a big lie. Reduce the amount of government employees and this problem goes away.

      • They seem to think that many Alaskans don’t really need the PFD, but college tuition assistance is critical. Back when I was considering attending college, that tuition was my responsibility. There were private sponsors in many cases, but the state wasn’t spending taxpayer dollars willy nilly.

        • I used to attend KPC in soldotna and some of those students who were there on grants were duuuumbb. I mean box of rocks dumb. Couldnt put two sentences together to write a paper. And most of them ended up failing out. We shouldn’t be funding these types of programs. I paid my tuition make them pay their own.

    2. The PFD belongs to the people. It does NOT belong to the politicians that are trying to openly Steal our money – in Clear violation of state statute.

    3. If the argument is that there is not enough money in the state coffers to pay a constitutionally mandated PFD, then the legislators should free up money by reducing the outrageous per diem, they get when they are in session in Juneau, to reimbursement for actual expenses (reflected in receipts). Rather than reimbursement for actual expenses like the military or Conoco Phillips or all other state of Alaska employees, these jerks arranged for themselves to get $9,000.00 UNTAXED per month of $36,000.00 UNTAXED for four months of session when there is no way they pay this much for living expenses in Juneau. Except maybe Andy Josephson who is buying a Juneau house with his per diem money. How many of you who travel on business get this kind of cash for business travel to Juneau? And how many of your employers will allow you to use per diem to buy a house and stay there during business travel? The answer is NOBODY. Unless you are on the Gravy Train with Alaska legislators.

    4. EVER SINCE SHOWER ABANDONED LAURA HE HAS BEEN ABSENT… WHAT HAPPENED? NOW ON THE PFD VOTE HE PULLS A RASMUSSEN…. SOMETHING IS ROTTEN HERE…….

    5. Gluttony . While citizens who have lost good paying jobs , still can’t get decent paying jobs, have lost the extra unemployment benefits, are losing their homes now that the moratorium on home loans has been lifted….yet those who are not in danger of any loss of income make decisions to line their personal pockets and the offices they control, without the least concern about a growing citizenry who are heading into poverty. So yes that the last bit of money that statutorily should theirs (PFD) and spend it on more gluttonous spending projects. So much for the Alaskan way of life

    6. The PFD being “garnished”/aka/STOLEN, was not approved by the people.
      -It’s like we have a democracy instead of the Republic this nation was founded on.. Tar and feathering needs to come back.. cause there are allot in Alaska that are asking for it =]

    7. Take 5 minutes to contact Governor Dunleavy and tell him to veto this budget. His contact is given for our convenience. Even if he fails to listen to the people, let us at least do our job.

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