One-time funding changes do not fundamentally alter Alaska’s budget reality

Today (Dec. 15th, 2021), Governor Mike Dunleavy released his budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, setting off months of deliberation by the Legislature and the administration as policymakers work toward a final spending plan.

Speaker Louise Stutes released the following statement on the budget:

The Alaska House Majority certainly supports a number of the priorities and projects discussed by the Governor today. However, we need to carefully review his budget proposal to ensure that it pencils out, uses federal funds wisely, and that the new revenue projections are realistic.

It is important to remember that a slight rise in the price of oil, changes in the stock market, and one-time funding from Washington do not fundamentally change Alaska’s fiscal reality. We need to make the tough decisions on a fiscal plan in order to provide sustainability in budgeting and the PFD.

We look forward to working with the Governor and our colleagues in the Legislature in the coming session to get the job done for Alaskans.”

House Speaker Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak)

Juneau, AK

Representative Kurka responds to proposed Dunleavy Budget

Alaska House District 7 Representative Christopher Kurka today (Dec. 16th, 2021) called Governor Dunleavy’s FY23 budget proposal an unrealistic and unsustainable model for Alaska’s future.

Governor Dunleavy’s latest budget proposal is a non-starter, and proves once again that the idea of increasing revenue as a means to fiscal sanity is both unrealistic and dishonest. The more government gets, the more it spends. As oil prices have increased, politicians have only taken the increased revenue as license to spend even more. Truthfully, there is only one way to get out of this hole: stop digging.

The Dunleavy FY23 budget proposes a spending increase in State funds for the second year in a row and spends even more than Governor Bill Walker’s final FY19 budget.

The budget proposal given to us by the governor is not only unsustainable, it is unlawful to allocate statutorily designated funds for the PFD to State spending. This is not what the people of Alaska demand, my constituents deserve better.

In addition to spending increases, the proposed budget abandons all pretense of following the statutory PFD calculation and stoops to the level of Legislative leadership by simply bickering over an arbitrary dollar amount. The new budget also proposes to spend CARES Act funds, bond funds, and approximately $1640 from each Alaskan’s pocket to meet the remaining revenue shortfall.

Kurka concluded, Robbing Peter to pay Paul can only go on for so long. The public’s patience is at an end with these budget gimmicks and broken political promises, and understandably so. I will be a hard “NO” on this budget. We can do better.

Rep. Christopher Kurka, District 7

Juneau, AK

Fairbanks International Launching Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program on Dec. 15

It’s easy for airport employees to lend a hand to travelers with visible cues of a disability like a passenger in a wheelchair. But there are other “hidden disabilities” that are less apparent such as autism, Crohn’s disease, dementia, hearing impairment, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, and many more! According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 26 percent of American adults have some type of disability, many of them not visually apparent.

In order to better meet the needs of all travelers with disabilities, Fairbanks International Airport (FAI) is launching the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program beginning December 15, 2021. Travelers with hidden disabilities may voluntarily request a sunflower lanyard or wristband to let airport staff know that they may need a little help or extra patience.

Passengers may request free Sunflower lanyards or wristbands at participating partner locations: Alaska Airlines ticket counter, AVIS Car Rental desk, Delta Air Lines ticket counter, or at the FAI Administration Office during normal business hours. FAI Administration Offices are open Monday- Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding holidays. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoint is a non-distribution point participating partner recognizing the Sunflower Lanyard Program as well.

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program first started in 2016 at Gatwick Airport in Great Britain. Since the program’s launch, more than 85 airports across the globe have joined the program, with more to come in 2022. A full list of participating airports may be found at:  https://hiddendisabilitiesstore.com/us/insights/post/airports-around-the-world. FAI is pleased to join so many others in the program!

Please note the Sunflower lanyard program does not authorize special privileges to the wearer or travel party. The program is designed only to signal to others additional help or extra patience may be required. Travelers should continue to coordinate with their airlines and/or TSA Cares (1-855-787-2227) for pre-travel questions and accommodation arrangements.

Any questions, comments, or concerns regarding the launch of FAI’s Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program can be directed to FAI’s Safety Officer and ADA Coordinator, Amanda Stonecipher, at 907-474-2582 or [email protected]

Fairbanks International Airport

Fairbanks, AK

Example: 9075434113