Alaska governor outlines finalized state budget
Gov. Mike Dunleavy, center, delivers his State of the State speech to a Joint Session of the Alaska Legislature as Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, left, and Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, watch from the front of the House chambers at the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau, Alaska, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Penn)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced a finalized state budget Tuesday that he said will pay off the state’s lingering oil and gas tax credits and invest in areas such as public safety, education and infrastructure.

Dunleavy, a Republican who faces reelection this year, vetoed hundreds of millions of dollars in proposed spending, including $62.5 million for school major maintenance, $49.5 million for statewide and University of Alaska deferred maintenance and $89.3 million in extra contributions to state retirement trust funds, according to a summary from his budget office.

The budget office in the summary said there were sufficient funds for priority school projects. That and the deferred maintenance cuts were among the vetoes the budget office said would help preserve general funds for savings.

Dunleavy called the budget responsible.

Lawmakers several years ago voted to end a program that provided cashable credits to small oil producers and explorers, saying it was no longer affordable. Dunleavy’s office said the state Department of Revenue indicates that funding included in the budget addresses the state’s remaining oil tax credit liability balance.

Dunleavy’s office said the budget authorizes positions within the Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers and the village public safety officer program. The budget includes money for port and other projects.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, an Anchorage Democrat, said Alaska “can move forward with this budget.”

House Speaker Louise Stutes, a Kodiak Republican who leads a bipartisan House coalition, in a statement said while she was disappointed that there were “vetoes to projects and grants that really matter to Alaskans, I was pleased that the governor agreed with the work our coalition did in crafting a budget that prioritizes funding education, public safety, other essential services, and that puts money towards savings.”