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Alaska House coalition calls Dunleavy’s vetoes ‘irresponsible’

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(The Center Square) – The Alaska House Coalition is asking House Speaker Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla, to poll representatives about a possible vote on Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s vetoes.

The governor cut more than $202 million from the budget last week with 46 vetoes. He cut funding approved by lawmakers for the basic student allocation in half.

The coalition called the vetoes “irresponsible.”

“When education and Head Start get cut during the implementation of the Alaska Reads Act, it makes me question whether this administration is truly concerned about student reading and academic success for all children,” said Rep. Andi Story, D-Juneau.

The governor also cut funding from the University of Alaska’s workforce development program and cut some money set aside for maintenance. Rep. Ashley Carrick, D-West Fairbanks, called the vetoes “short-sighted.”

Tilton said in a statement she thought Dunleavy’s vetoes were necessary.

“It is important to adequately fund education, and it is equally important to ensure those dollars are being used most effectively in the classroom,” Tilton said. “I believe the governor’s vetoes reflect that balance and the necessity of fiscal responsibility.

Dunleavy called the remaining budget “a responsible path for Alaska’s future.”

“We continue to invest in public safety, public education, and economic development,” Dunleavy said. “While this is a responsible budget for FY 24, I look forward to working with lawmakers and Alaskans to establish a long-term, sustainable fiscal plan.”

Alaska statutes allow the house speaker to poll lawmakers about a special session if 25% of them request one. Two-thirds of the House and Senate must agree before a special session is called.

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