Friday, June 19, 2020
A new report that examines Alaska's budgets over the last 10 years shows we are spending less on infrastructure and programs that benefit children, youth, and families.

The report from the Alaska Children's Trust is called the "Alaska Children's Budget." I hope this document helps refocus our attention and resources towards supporting children and families in Alaska.

Key Findings of the Children’s Budget:

Spending on children, youth, and families totaled $3.15 billion for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, including all federal, state, and other funds.

  • 30% of the State’s $10.66 billion total budget.

State spending on children, youth, and families is 12.5% less compared to spending earlier in the decade.

  • The decline is equal to $400 million annually.

Support for children, youth, and families is more dependent on federal dollars than it was a decade ago.

  • Federal spending is up nearly 13%.
  • State of Alaska undesignated general fund (UGF) spending is down more than 10%.
A video from the Alaska Children's Trust describing the "Alaska Children's Budget."
A video from Alaska Children's Trust President/CEO Trevor Storrs about how Alaska can refocus on children.
Child Well-Being in Alaska
  • Alaska ranks 45th in the nation for child well-being.

  • It’s estimated that about 1 in 3 children in Alaska live in poverty.

  • The number of children in Alaska without health insurance is nearly double the national average.

  • Alaska has over 2,000 children in foster care.

  • Only 25% of 4th graders are proficient in reading.

  • Only 30% of 8th graders are proficient in math.

  • It’s estimated that nearly 15% of children do not have enough food to eat.

  • We annually have between 2,000 – 3,000 substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect in Alaska.
In the next few days, my end of session newsletter will be delivered to mailboxes across District 23. I have extras copies, so don't hesitate to contact my office if you would like a printed copy.

The end of session newsletter includes information on the approved state budget and Governor Dunleavy's budget vetoes. I also outline the results of the 2019 audit of state government. The audit is troubling because it shows instances of waste and mismanagement of state resources that are simply unacceptable.

When history looks back at this year's legislative session, it will be remembered in light of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. It’s heartbreaking to reflect on all that has been taken from us during the pandemic, but we will prevail. A vaccine will be found. Businesses will reopen, and children will return to school. Until then, protect your family, enjoy your friends, find satisfaction in your work, and please help your neighbors.
Summer is here, and it's time to get out and play. It's important to take proactive steps to prevent catching the coronavirus, but that does not mean shutting yourself or your children off from the sunshine and clean air. However, it's important to be smart and cautious if your favorite outdoor activity involves groups of people.

One of the easiest ways for COVID-19 to spread is through group gatherings, including sporting events. Dr. Ann Zink, Alaska's Chief Medical Officer, recently addressed the issue of summer sports.

“I know how important summer sports are to families. I’m hearing from a lot of parents wondering what to do. These are really hard decisions to make, and what works for one family may not work for another. If you spend time with an older person or someone else facing higher chances of illness, it’s very important to make sure your other interactions with people are at a distance. That includes your time participating in and watching sports.” - Dr. Zink

If you choose to participate in summer sports and group activities this summer, please be aware of the risks. For more information, check out the guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.