Lawmakers hear Alaskans' concerns on Dunleavy's budget
The Alaska House majority held public hearings in towns across the state over the weekend to give Alaskans a chance to speak about Gov. Mike Dunleavy's proposed budget.
Members of the House Finance Committee held meetings Saturday in Bethel, Ketchikan, Soldotna and Wasilla.
"The Borough could lose up to a total of $65 million," Wasilla Mayor Bert Cottle told state lawmakers Saturday. "To make that $65 million up, a five-mil tax, which is a 50 percent base property tax increase, would have to occur to make up that difference, OK? So, you think your meetings are packed today? Wait till you get a 50 percent increase on your taxes."
On Sunday, they met in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Sitka. Hundreds of people showed to the Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna Borough Legislative Information Office buildings. Topics ranged from state income tax to university budget cuts.
"My mom here, and also my uncle, both graduated from UAA," 11-year-old Charlie Fairchild told members of the House Finance Committee Sunday. "I want the ability to go to UAA as well. Raising prices and cutting programs will make that hard. Please save my future school."
The meetings come before Dunleavy, who has presented a plan to repay the reduced dividends over the next three years, is set to take his austerity budget pitch to Alaskans. He officially hits the road on Monday, making his first stop in Kenai.
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