FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 11th, 2015
Senate Democrats Allow Passage of Compromise Legislation
Despite absence of Medicaid Expansion and concern over substantial cuts to education, seniors, the needy; Senate Democrats give CBR vote to take Alaska off perilous path
ANCHORAGE – Seven weeks past the end of the 2015 session, Senate Democrats voted in support of a Constitutional Budget Reserve draw that safeguards the Permanent Fund Dividend and prevents Alaska from entering an economic free-fall caused by a potential government shutdown.
“We do not support the substantial cuts delivered this session to education and services for Alaska’s sick, elderly, and defenseless. However, we recognize the difficult financial situation Alaska finds itself in today, and we could not continue to watch the House and Senate Majorities place innocent Alaskans at risk over their pursuit of a partisan political agenda,” stated Senator Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage).
In recognition of the fiscal crisis, at multiple times in the budget process over the last 143 days, Senate Democrats offered additional budget cuts of roughly $750 million. These amendments were voted down with few exceptions along caucus lines.
“This is not a perfect budget, but it prevents a PFD raid and keeps a promise to our hard-working public servants: the janitors, public safety officers, and thousands of other Alaskans who keep our neighborhoods safe and our state running,” said Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage).
United with the House Independent Democratic Coalition, Senate Democrats maintained their support for public education, services for Alaska’s seniors and those in need, essential transportation networks, and the honoring of negotiated and agreed upon labor contracts despite the over 50 day long threat of a government shutdown from House and Senate Republicans.
“I am pleased this compromise keeps our promises to our dedicated public employees and does not entirely disable the Alaska Marine Highway System, which keeps coastal Alaska connected,” stated Senator Dennis Egan (D-Juneau).
For more information contact Myer Hutchinson at (907) 957-8384.