JUNEAU — The House Finance Committee released a report Thursday showing that a majority of constituents who spoke at statewide budget meetings last week do not support Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget proposal.
The budget, while controversial, has brought the state’s financial crisis to the forefront of conversation, the committee noted.
“The outpouring and the passion from Alaskans has been incredible,” said House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham. “We’ve heard from Alaskans who would lose access to health care if Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget passes as is. We’ve heard from teachers who don’t know if they’ll have a job this fall, elders on a fixed income who fear they’ll lose senior benefits and people in communities at risk of losing their only highway.”
North Pole Republican Rep. Tammie Wilson commended the statewide meetings for assisting in legislator-constituent dialogue.
“Citizens want to be involved. They want to help us make those decisions and actually show us what they want the government to look like,” Wilson said.
The report shows about 1,000 Alaskans gave feedback on the governor’s budget during the series of budget meetings hosted by the House Finance Committee last week.
“Of the people who provided input on the budget, 990 voiced opposition to the governor’s drastic cuts. 202 supported the governor’s plan, leaving a 5-to-1 margin of opposition,” the report reads.
The committee outlined the top 10 topics of concern as follows, beginning with the subject of greatest concern: opposition to education cuts, support for an income tax, support for reduced dividends, opposition to health care and Medicaid cuts, opposition to university budget cuts, opposition to ferry system cuts, support to either revise the tax system or increase tax on oil and gas companies, support for broad-based tax or revenue diversification, opposing cuts to the dividend and opposing cuts to the Pioneers’ Homes.
The leading topic of discussion was K-12 education, which was mentioned by 839 of the 1,000 responding Alaskans.
The report can be found at www.akhouse.org/?p=6488.
Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.