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

Senate Passes State Operating Budget

Hoffman_stamp.jpgSenator Lyman Hoffman
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JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today passed the state operating budget for Fiscal Year 2019, totaling $3.2 billion in unrestricted general funds (UGF) for agency and statewide operations.  

The budget excludes the bulk of education funding—$1.28 billion—which is covered in a different bill, HB 287. HB 287 delivers up to two years of full funding for K-12 education, and will be passed separately to protect education from possible delays caused by disagreements over other budget items.  

With the addition of education funding, the FY 2019 operating budget spends approximately $4.5 billion in UGF, which is a $1 billion reduction from FY 2015.

The operating budget also appropriates over $1 billion to pay eligible Alaskans a $1,600 Permanent Fund dividend.  

“This budget provides for the services Alaskans rely on in their everyday lives,” said Sen. Lyman Hoffman (D-Bethel) co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “We need to come together this year to provide fiscal stability and protect the Permanent Fund.” 

The House and Senate budgets largely diverged on spending for Medicaid and debt payments for oil and gas tax credits. The Senate’s budget reduced Medicaid spending by $60 million and directed the administration to manage the program costs better. It also includes an additional $135 million to meet the state’s legal obligation to pay down outstanding debt related to oil and gas tax credits.   

“The Senate prioritized the state’s constitutional obligations in this budget,” said Sen. Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River) co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee.  “In order to reduce the size of government, we must actively pursue legislative reforms.”  

The budget draws $600 million from the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR); the CBR vote passed 15 to 5.

“This budget represents another step toward fiscal certainty for Alaska,” said Senate President Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks). “It’s a tremendous amount of work to put a state’s budget together and I congratulate and thank everyone of my colleagues in the Senate for the work they have done.”

HB 286 passed the Senate by a vote of 13 to 7 and is now on its way to the Alaska House of Representatives for concurrence.  

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

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