Local groups rally, urge Gov. Dunleavy to pass operating budget
As the new fiscal year approaches and a state operating budget still not set in stone, many state employees' anxiety is on the rise.
"It just brings a lot of instability to our state, to workers, to their families," said Save our State coordinator Samantha Harris. "You know, they won't know if they have health care, how to provide for their families. It's gonna cost thousands, maybe millions of dollars in delays in construction projects. It affects tourism and just untold economic impacts that we can't afford."
On Wednesday evening, dozens of people showed up for a rally in front of the Anchorage Legislative Information Office building, and many more joined the efforts in Juneau, voicing chants and waving signs in hopes to get the attention of Gov. Mike Dunleavy.
"We can't afford a government shutdown," said Vince Beltrami, president of Alaska's American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). "The people that work for this state that service us every day, all they do is show up and go to work every day, and this is a fake budget crisis. There is a responsible budget that has been passed by the Legislature, the governor needs to sign that. We can talk about the PFD later."
Earlier this week the governor addressed the operating budget in a tweet saying he will review all options moving forward. The governor said he will consider accepting the Legislature's budget, to veto the budget in its entirety or veto portions of the budget to align expenditures and revenues.
"It is the lowest budget in 15 years," Beltrami said. "We have trimmed, not just through the fat, we're through the muscle and bone now."
The City of Fairbanks will hold another Save our State rally on Thursday outside of the Fairbanks Legislative Information Office building.
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