A new committee substitute adopted Monday preserves K-12 funding and school bond debt reimbursement. The House sought to cut the latter by 50 percent.
Senators' concerns range from the constitutionality of the education cuts to the resulting increase in local taxes. The administration's claims that the budget doesn't raise taxes are "not a fact," they say.
House Finance voted to keep forward-funding of public education, but it voted to cut all school bond debt reimbursement.
Subcommittees restored $700 million for Medicaid and $134 million for the University, while asserting their rights as the appropriating branch of government.
Sixty percent of teachers cut. Property tax increases of 33 percent. Nearly 30 Kindergarteners per classroom. These are some of the options school districts are considering to deal with education cuts in Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s FY 2020 budget.
Gov. Dunleavy campaigned on a limited platform. He stood in support of education, promised to be tough on crime, and argued for a full Permanent Fund dividend. Wednesday, he also said he ran on a platform of fixing the budget.
David Teal speculated that, despite messaging, the deep cuts in Dunleavy's budget could be a deliberate attempt to get people to accept smaller PFDs.
“Given the current political lay of the land, this bill makes sense. But... the State is going to need new revenue someday,” said Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage).
House budget subcommittees are on track to maintain funding for education programs and public assistance, while frustrated minority members staged a walk-out.
Rep. Ben Carpenter (R-Nikiski) said that rather than fund dyslexia screening, he could check out a library book to learn to recognize dyslexia. He then moved to cut library operations.
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