AK State Senator Scott Kawasaki responds to Governor Dunleavy’s final FY25 budget

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) – On Friday, June 28, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy released his final fiscal year 2025 budget, including his vetoes on certain budget items.

The release has so far drawn mixed reactions from Interior lawmakers. Rep. Mike Prax supported the vetoes, and Rep. Maxine Dibert said they negatively impact some of the state’s most vulnerable members of the population.

Meanwhile, Senator Scott Kawasaki said about 10 percent of the public broadcaster’s budget has been cut.

According to Kawasaki, the governor also cut $20 million from a revenue-sharing program that sends money from the state to municipal governments across Alaska to cover costs.

Some of it would have been received in Fairbanks, where it has traditionally been used to reduce taxes.

However, Kawasaki supports certain items that remained in the budget, including money for a child care facility at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and $50 million for improvements and construction at Fairbanks International Airport.

“I think we need a stable fiscal plan to put us on a stable fiscal footing for the next few years. That includes a large PFD (Permanent Fund Dividend). That includes priorities like education, public safety and public health, and ensuring a healthy growth budget for construction. We need all of those things. This is just kind of a flat budget. It doesn’t do much, positive or negative, but it’s just kind of the status quo this time,” Kawasaki said.

The governor’s budget also included a roughly $12 million cut in school funding to meet the federal requirement to maintain equity, which could result in a significant loss of federal funding if not met.

Negotiations are underway with the federal government to bring the state into compliance.

The Fairbanks school district was expected to receive some of that money, as it was one of the districts reportedly underfunded during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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