Rep. Gary Knopp, R-Kenai, and Rep. Dave Talerico, R-Healy, sit next to each other after Knopp voted not to confirm Talerico as Speaker of the House on Tuesday. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Rep. Gary Knopp, R-Kenai, and Rep. Dave Talerico, R-Healy, sit next to each other after Knopp voted not to confirm Talerico as Speaker of the House on Tuesday. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

House Finance Committee to visit the Kenai, hear testimony

“All budget decisions must be informed by input from people across our state”

The Alaska House Finance Committee has planned a series of public meetings across the state to better understand how Alaskans feel about upcoming budget decisions.

The committee typically holds public input hearings at the state capitol in Juneau. The proposals contained in Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget could fundamentally change life for many Alaskans, a press release from the Alaska House Majority said.

“Given the historic nature of the decisions before policymakers and the fact that our savings accounts have been spent down, the committee is going above and beyond to listen directly to Alaskans,” the release said.

The hearings are the first of their kind in Alaska’s history, the release said.

“Cuts and efficiencies are possible and necessary, but these proposed reductions would have significant impacts on elders and youth, rural and urban residents, and every facet of our economy,” said House Speaker Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham). “Because of this stark reality, all budget decisions must be informed by input from people across our state.”

The House Finance Committee will send select representatives to visit the communities of Juneau, Ketchikan, Wasilla, Bethel, Soldotna, Anchorage, Sitka and Fairbanks.

For the Kenai Peninsula, House Speaker Edgmon, Finance Vice Chair Jennifer Johnston and Rep. Gary Knopp, R-Kenai/Soldotna, will be listening to constituents from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, at the Soldotna Sports Complex.

For residents unable to attend, the House Finance Committee will also be taking public testimony by call-in and email on Monday, March 25.

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