Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks during a press conference on Thursday in Juneau. (Photo courtesy Kevin Goodman, Office of the Governor)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks during a press conference on Thursday in Juneau. (Photo courtesy Kevin Goodman, Office of the Governor)

Dunleavy reiterates budget priorities from Juneau

The governor has emphasized public safety, the PFD and education

Gov. Mike Dunleavy doubled down on his budget priorities — including public safety, permanent fund dividend payments, education and infrastructure — during a press conference held Thursday in Juneau.

State lawmakers have maintained that their chief priority for the legislative session currently underway is to help steady the state’s financial future, which includes solving the ongoing PFD question.

Included in Dunleavy’s supplemental budget is a spring PFD payment of $1,250 to fund the remainder of the 2021 permanent fund dividend, as well as a 2022 dividend payment of $2,500. Supplemental budget bills authorize spending of additional funds for the current or prior fiscal year to cover shortfalls.

The $1,250 remainder permanent fund dividend payment, Dunleavy said, reflects his commitment to a fifty-fifty plan, as does the proposed 2022 payment of $2,500. The fifty-fifty plan touted by Dunleavy would split permanent fund earnings equally between dividend payments and state services.

Dunleavy first unveiled his proposed fiscal year 2023 budget, which is subject to approval by the Alaska Legislature, last year. His proposal outlined $11 billion in spending, about $4.6 billion of which comes from the federal government. Fiscal year 2023 begins on July 1, 2022, and ends on June 30, 2023.

“When it comes to our revenue picture, we’re in pretty good shape,” Dunleavy said Thursday.

Dunleavy has proposed major state spending on public safety, including $6.3 million for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention programs, as well as $310 million for a General Obligation Transportation and Infrastructure Bond. That bond includes funding for ports and harbors, surface transportation and airports, as well as $6.5 million for the Kenai River Bluff Stabilization.

Dunleavy said Thursday that legislative leadership are privy to some of the state’s financial projections and that he hopes they can find common ground on issues.

“With regard to whether the legislature is going to agree on everything we’ve put forward, that’s doubtful, but we’re hoping that there’ll be a number of issues (that) we can coalesce around and get passed to help the people of Alaska,” Dunleavy said.

Thursday’s press conference can be viewed in full on the governor’s Facebook page.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara ata shlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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