From Sen. Bill Wielechowski <[email protected]>
Subject First look at the Governor's proposed budget
Date December 18, 2023 7:25 PM
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The latest from Senator Bill Wielechowski December 18, 2023 Senator Bill Wielechowski State Capitol, Rm 103 Juneau, AK 99801 800-550-2435 907-465-2435 [email protected] 1500 W Benson #315 Anchorage, AK 99503 907-269-0120 Contact My Staff Mercedes Colbert Chief of Staff [email protected] David Dunsmore Senior Legislative Aide [email protected] Hunter Lottsfeldt Legislative Aide [email protected] Maxine Laberge Legislative Aide [email protected] Contact the Governor Governor Dunleavy's Anchorage office may be reached at 269-7450, or e-mail him at [email protected] Visit the state website Track Legislation Visit the Legislature's website Submit a Letter to the Editor The Anchorage Daily News welcomes and publishes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email [email protected]. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to [email protected]. ________________ Dear Friends & Neighbors, Happy Holidays to you and yours! It has been great to see many of you around the community this season. This newsletter is to provide an initial overview of the Governor's proposed budget that was released last Thursday. I also provide some links to information about road plowing, holiday events, and how to give to the Food Bank this holiday season. Governor's Budget Proposal On December 14, Governor Dunleavy released his budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2024. The governor can also submit amendments to his proposed budget for our consideration by mid-February. This budget proposal begins the budget process for the legislative session that convenes on January 16, 2024. The budget will be reviewed by House and Senate subcommittees for each agency, full finance committees in both chambers, and the floors of each chamber - that's at least 6 rounds of opportunities for amendments from legislators - before it is passed into law in the spring of 2024. This includes both the operating and capital budgets. I was glad to see that Governor Dunleavy is proposing up to $8 million (including both state and federal dollars) to help reduce the serious backlog of SNAP benefits, plus $3 million to local food banks and pantries across the state. My office has been helping dozens of neighbors this year with their delayed SNAP benefits and it is critical that Alaskans not go hungry because of bureaucratic delays. I was disappointed that governor is not proposing any additional support for local schools and giving our schools the resources they need to succeed remains a top priority for the bipartisan Senate Majority. The proposed budget has a deficit of $1 billion, which Gov. Dunleavy proposes to cover with the Constitutional Budget Reserve - this account has been used many of the last 9 years to fill our budget deficits. One of the biggest reasons for this deficit is the per barrel oil tax credits, which the Department of Revenue estimates will cost the state almost $700 million next fiscal year. Moreover, the State is allowing another $1.2 billion in carried-forward oil tax credits. The other concerning issue impacting the deficit is the fact that oil production is projected to drop by 35,000 barrels per day from what was just projected in March. Since these tax credits were supposed to increase oil production, this is further evidence that they are not working. A list of all proposed capital projects is found here. Below are some other agency highlights in the proposed budgets for next year (FY2025): ADMINISTRATION · $138,000 toward reducing the caseload in the Office of Public Advocacy · $126,400 in new funding the Public Defender Agency for Holistic Defense model in Bethel · $650,000 increase to address recruitment/retention for payroll staff CORRECTIONS · $5.5 Million increase across all 13 correctional facilities for staff recruitment and retention · Increased funding for both Pre-Trial Services behavioral intervention ($4.2 Million) and Community Residential Centers ($5.7 million) · $3.8 million increase for health care EDUCATION AND EARLY DEVELOPMENT · No additional funding beyond the base formula for schools. The Legislature has the opportunity to add funding. · $4.2 million for Major Maintenance and $4 million for School Construction FAMILY & COMMUNITY SERVICES · $5 million increase for Foster Care to align with higher cost of living HEALTH · $1.5 million in additional grants for food pantries · $1.8 million additional funding (federal/state split) to fund 20 temporary public assistance technicians to address SNAP backlogs LAW · Establish new Graduate Internship programs in the Civil Division and Criminal Division to assist with recruitment of state attorneys · $1.1 million for 6 full-time investigators across the state for domestic violence and sexual assault cases · $397,500 for two new positions to assist with drug prosecutions MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS · $631,800 increase for the Alaska Military Youth Academy operations, plus two new counselors · Two new positions to help address increase of state-declared disasters PUBLIC SAFETY · $698,500 for 3 troopers in Bethel to help with child crime investigations · $450,100 for 4 troopers based in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Soldotna to assist with Missing & Murdered Indigenous Persons cases, plus an additional $250,000 for outreach · $942,500 (total) increase to increase support and equipment search and rescue operations based out of Anchorage, Nome, Fairbanks · $3.5 million to expand the Village Public Safety Officer program · Reorganize existing resources and staff in the department to establish a new Division of Victims Services TRANSPORTATION · $915,000 for contracting snow removal statewide on pedestrian facilities and priority 3 and 4 roads · $23 million state match for Tustamena ferry replacement UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA · $11 million (fed/state) for Railbelt carbon capture and sequestration project at UAF · $10 million for UAF research The governor's Office of Management & Budget documents are found here for deeper details. I want to hear from you about what you want the Legislature to focus on as we review the budget, please feel free to call or email my office with any ideas, questions, or concerns. Anchorage Road Plowing I know we all have been struggling with another dump of snow in Anchorage this week. For more information about the status of road plowing, the Municipality provides an interactive map showing the winter road maintenance status for municipal-maintained roads. For state-maintained roads, visit Alaska DOT's website. Holiday Events Visit Anchorage hosts a great calendar of the many public and family-friendly events going on in town throughout the holiday season. If you have the means, I also encourage you to donate to the local Food Bank to help spread holiday cheer to our neighbors. As always, please feel free to reach out to me or my staff anytime if we may be of assistance to you. Happy holidays to you and yours! Warmly, Alaska Senate Majority | Capitol Building, 4th Avenue & Main Street, Juneau, AK 99801 Unsubscribe [email protected] Constant Contact Data Notice Sent by [email protected]
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