Governor Walker Operating Budget Press Conference

Monday, May 18 Governor Walker held a press conference to discuss his action on HB 72 - Operating Budget.  

LINK TO FULL REPORT

A few key points from the press conference: 

  • The legislature, the Dept. of Corrections, the judicial system, the Dept. of Public Safety, Pioneer Homes, and debt service are 100 percent funded for FY16.
  • The Dept. of Health & Social services is 100 percent funded for half the year.
  • Every other department, including the Dept. of Education & Early Development, is funded at 28 percent.
  • 15,000 layoff notices will be sent to state employees on June 1 if the budget isn't fully funded before then.

Governor Walker said he hoped it wouldn't come down to school starting in August and then shutting down after a month, but he hopes the funding issue will be resolved in the nine days remaining in the special session. He said if it's not resolved, he will immediately call another special session.

The repercussions will be severe if this issue isn't resolved. State employee layoffs and the state budget shortfall will impact much more than state government. School districts will have to lay off teachers and staff. The Dept. of Natural Resources and the Dept. of Environmental Conservation won't be able to issue permits for resource development. The Dept. of Fish & Game won't be able to manage commercial, sport, and subsistence fisheries. The Div. of Motor Vehicles won't be able to issue licenses and registrations. Workers' comp will be shut down. Activities in the Dept. of Commerce, Community, & Economic Development will shut down. The Alaska Marine Highway and tourism will be affected - the list goes on and on.  

There are three things that could happen:

  1. A compromise could be reached to get the House Minority on board for the three-fourths vote necessary to access the constitutional budget reserve.
  2. The House and Senate Majorities could decide to use funds in the permanent fund earnings reserve, which would only require a majority vote in each body.
  3. Nothing. They could decide to do nothing.

Upcoming hearings/floor sessions:

Tuesday, May 19:

  • House Floor Session (technical session), 10:30 a.m., House Chamber, Capitol Bldg.
  • Senate Floor Session (technical session) 11:00 a.m., Senate Chamber, Capitol Bldg.
  • Senate Education Committee, 11:00 a.m., Anchorage LIO Auditorium
    • HB 44 - Sexual Abuse/Assault/Dating Violence Prevention Programs. Teleconferenced. Testimony by invitation only
  • Hearing to take public testimony on Erin's Law, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., Anchorage LIO 
    • Sponsored by Reps. Tarr, Drummond, & Gruenberg

Wednesday, May 20:

  • Senate Education Committee, 11:00 a.m., Anchorage LIO Auditorium
    • HB 44 - Sexual Abuse/Assault/Dating Violence Prevention Programs. Teleconferenced. Testimony by invitation only
  • Senate Finance Committee, 1:30 p.m., Anchorage LIO Auditorium
    • FY15 & FY16 operating budgets

Thursday, May 21:

  • Senate Finance Committee, 2:00 p.m., Anchorage LIO Auditorium
    • FY15 & FY16 operating budgets

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