Given the state’s current fiscal situation, this is a critically important week in Alaska’s history. As proposed by the Governor, the Operating Budget stands at $5.47 billion, 97 percent of proposed state spending this year and as a result, responsible for driving the budget not only well beyond sustainable levels, but even well beyond the first step the Governor previously has said must be taken in the near term to reduce spending to sustainable levels.
Through substantial efforts, collectively the House Finance Subcommittees early last week proposed substitutes which bring the total within sustainable levels. But public testimony Wednesday and Thursday was filled with those affected by various of the proposed cuts, seeking reinstatement of “just their piece” of course, but in the aggregate proposing to drive spending back over sustainable levels. Continue reading