Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The City and Borough of Juneau is holding a Town Hall on the state budget on Monday, March 11 at 7 p.m. in City Hall Chambers.
City Manager Rorie Watt will make a short presentation on how the governor’s proposed budget would impact CBJ, followed by an opportunity for the public to ask questions and provide input.
“Never in the last 40 years has a governor proposed such a radical change to state institutions. Not only are big changes proposed, but detail and reasoning on the impacts is scarce to non-existent. And nobody has proposed any credible process for considering the changes. Please go to a town hall, learn about the impacts, become informed, and use the knowledge to tell the governor and the legislature what kind of state you want to live in,” Watt said.
According to CBJ spokesperson Lisa Phu, Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget would mean a reduction of $14.7 million to CBJ in fiscal year 2020 – $7.1 million from the loss of the school bond debt reimbursement; $400,000 from the shifting of shared fisheries taxes from municipalities to state; and Bartlett Regional Hospital would experience a loss of about $6.2 million in reduced Medicaid funding.
Additionally, the Juneau School District could stand to lose $14 million from cuts in the education foundation program, statewide school funding, as well as in the allowable local contribution.
Communitywide, the governor’s budget would impact numerous state and nonprofit services and programs. The economic contraction – job losses, loss of sales tax – resulting from these cuts is still being evaluated, though Juneau, at a minimum, would likely lose more than 100 jobs.
The Juneau Assembly recently passed a resolution urging the Alaska Legislature to pass a state budget that ensures long term fiscal and economic stability. The Assembly wants to see a budget that doesn’t shift the funding burden for core services – like education, transportation and healthcare – from the state to local municipalities. The Assembly also calls on the Legislature to engage in a discussion of all fiscal options, including broad-based state taxes and use of permanent fund earnings.
Juneau’s legislative delegation is also hosting a Juneau Town Hall, “Focus on the Budget,” on Tuesday, March 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Juneau-Douglas High School. There will be a budget discussion by the Legislative Finance Division as well as updates from Senator Jesse Kiehl, Representative Sara Hannan, and Representative Andi Story.