On Thursday the House passed the FY20 Operating Budget. The House took a hard look at the budget this year--continuing work that has been done for years to reduce the budget.
Our FY19 operating budget is $838 million smaller (in real dollars) than it was in FY12. The FY20 budget we just passed was another ~$200 million smaller than last year's. The legislature has made real cuts to the budget but worked hard to hold harmless public safety, education, health care and transportation in this budget. That’s because over 1,000 people testified to the House Finance Committee overwhelmingly in support of these essential services.
Some people have expressed concerns that the Legislature didn’t accept Governor Dunleavy’s proposals to reduce the budget. Actually, we considered every line item he proposed and accepted many of them on their merits while rejecting those which would have resulted in huge cash grabs from local government, increased local taxes, and cut education, public safety, transportation and health care.
There are more steps to the process. The budget now goes to the Senate. Once they’ve passed it, the budget will go to a Conference committee where the differences between the two budgets will be reconciled. Then it goes to the Governor for signature. If he uses the line item veto, as he has suggested he will, the legislature has the opportunity to consider a veto override.
The passage of the operating budget represents an important step towards the stability that Alaska’s economy and families need to thrive.