Dunleavy doubles down on campaign promises
Gov. Mike Dunleavy didn’t mince words on Tuesday.
Just before his third cabinet meeting since taking office last month, Dunleavy reiterated his intent to keep campaign promises that got him elected Nov. 6.
His blueprint for the upcoming legislative session that begins Jan. 15 was succinct: a balanced budget that relies on projected revenue of $3.2 billion; a Permanent Fund dividend that aligns with the state's statutory formula, not a legislative appropriation; “comprehensive” changes to the state’s crime laws that have come under heavy and recent scrutiny as being soft on crime.
“I’m not saying all of this is going to be easy or any of this is going to be easy,” Dunleavy said. “But it has to be done and I think we’ve assembled a team that’s going to make it happen, so I’m pretty excited.”
Dunleavy added that he’s asked his cabinet to scrutinize existing regulations to see what may be outdated or in place without reason.
Alaska's new governor has until Feb. 13 to submit an amended budget; he said the Legislature can expect it by early February.
Dunleavy, who as a state senator served on the Senate Finance Committee, said he wants to his administration more in line with the Legislature when it comes to “honest” budgets.
“For too long we haven’t been up front and honest about the budget,” he said. “The administration has used different numbers. The House has use different numbers; the Senate has used different numbers.
“Our attempt this year is to try to get everybody on the same page so Alaskans can see what numbers we are using. Those conversations are occurring. We are going to be transparent in our budgeting.”
Part of Dunleavy’s current budget proposal includes a Permanent Fund dividend that falls under the state statute and is not part of Legislature’s final appropriate. For the last three years Alaskans have received a reduced PFD, first through a veto from former Gov. Bill Walker then from legislative appropriation.
Dunleavy says those dividends should also be made whole.
“I believe the PFD is not an appropriation; it’s a transfer,” he said. “I believe it’s a transfer from the (Alaska) Permanent Fund Corporation to the people of Alaska. How it got rolled into the concept of an appropriation the last couple years, I’m not sure we are going to unravel that.”
Dunleavy also added his administration is putting together a “serious package” on public safety. Campaigns statewide featured a focus on crime and bills filed in advance session starting next week have featured several crime reform bills.
"The only thing I can say at this point is, if you are a criminal and you have the tendency to commit criminal activities this is going to be a different Alaska starting this year," Dunleavy said.
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