News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Hoffman
For Immediate Release: May 12, 2018

Legislature Approves State Operating Budget

Hoffman_stamp.jpgSenator Lyman Hoffman
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JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature today concurred with the final version of the state operating budget for Fiscal Year 2019, totaling $3.1 billion in unrestricted general funds (UGF) for agency and statewide operations.  

The operating budget, HB 286, excludes the bulk of FY 2019 education funding—$1.28 billion—which is covered in a different bill, HB 287. HB 287 delivers up to two years of funding for K-12 education and was signed into law on May 3.   

With the addition of education funding, the FY 2019 operating budget appropriates roughly $4.4 billion in UGF, which is a $1 billion cut from FY 2015.

In addition, the budget includes $1 billion to pay each eligible Alaskan a $1,600 Permanent Fund dividend.  

“The Legislature came together this year, provided Alaska with fiscal stability and protected the Permanent Fund,” said Sen. Lyman Hoffman (D-Bethel), co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “Passage of this budget is a significant moment in Alaska’s history when, for the first time, we are utilizing the Permanent Fund for one of its original purposes: to pay for state services when oil revenue is not enough.”  

To cover a portion of the gap, the budget draws a limited and sustainable amount of money from the earnings of the Permanent Fund based on an endowment model approach. The Legislature this year passed the structure necessary to limit the amount of money lawmakers can spend from the Permanent Fund’s earnings.

“The Legislature prioritized the state’s constitutional obligations in this budget,” said Sen. Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River), co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “There’s still much work to be done. The Legislature must continue to pursue legislative reforms to reduce the size of government and fix the structures and programs that aren’t providing the maximum return for Alaskans.”   

The budget draws $600 million from the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR); the CBR vote passed the Senate 17 to 2 and the House 32 to 8.

“A lot of thought and hard work went into this budget,” said Senate President Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks). “I am grateful for the work of my colleagues as well as the patience of Alaskans throughout this process.”  

The operating budget passed the Senate by a vote of 15 to 4 and the House 21 to 19 for a combined vote of 36 to 23. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk for his consideration.

For more information, contact Senate Majority Press Secretary Daniel McDonald at (907) 465-4066.

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