News

Week of February 18, 2019

 
    1. Elections Have Consequences – aka this is what $1.6 Billion in cuts looks like
    2. Education funding takes a hit
    3. After massive delay, the State House is organized
    4. We have a Federal budget, halfway through the fiscal year, we have a budget
    5. Rep. Haaland (D-NM) to Co-Chair Native Caucus
  1. State Reports:
  2. Federal Reports:
  3. News Links:
    1. State News:
    2. National News:


 

Elections Have Consequences – aka this is what $1.6 Billion in cuts looks like
The Governor’s proposed budget sticks to his promises to cut $1.6 Billion dollars while paying out a full Permanent Fund Dividend check. It will likely see significant changes as it makes its way through the legislative process. Tanana Chiefs Conference is very invested in protecting Medicaid Expansion and President Joseph has  traveled to Juneau recently to discuss the impacts to our delivery of health services with substantial cuts to Medicaid. He also met with the Commissioner for the Department of Public Safety and the Governor’s Alaska Native Policy Advisor to reiterate our concerns of deteriorating the VPSO budget such that providing quality services is impossible. All of the articles you want on proposed budget: here , here , here , and here
Notable cuts in the proposed budget:
·   $300 million cut to foundation funding, which will need a change in law the FY 20 Foundation Program estimate includes a base student allocation of $5,930;
·   A $3.2 million cut to pre-kindergarten grants, eliminating the program;
·   $670,000 zeroed out from the Alaska Online With Libraries program;
·   Defund Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho (WWAMI) Medical Education program ($3.1 million);
·   $2.036 million in Public Broadcasting Radio funding zeroed out;
·   $46,700 for the Public Broadcasting Commission is zeroed out;
·   $633,000 Public Broadcasting TV is also zeroed out;
·   $155 million overall cut to the University of Alaska system that will be decided by the Board of Regents;
·   There’s a $1.4 million cut to Community and Regional Affairs;
·   A $271 million cut (39.7 percent) to Medicaid Services from the implementation of a “combination of cost savings and containment measures to achieve this decrement” that includes a long list of proposals, but the most important one is a “review of eligibility determinations,” which translates to kicking people off;
·   Hikes fees to residents of the Alaska Pioneer Homes in order to “fully close the gap between the actual cost of providing services and current rates” while also creating a $15 million assistance fund to help people currently living in the homes to stay;
·   Cuts $3.2 million from the Alaska Psychiatric Institute;
·   Cuts $1 million from substance abuse and treatment grants;
·   Cuts $1 million from front-line social workers;
·   Cuts $3.4 million from Juvenile Justice facilities and programs;
·   Cuts $35.4 million from public assistance: $14.7 million from adult public assistance, $16.9 million from tribal assistance programs and $3 million from public assistance field services;
·   Cuts $24.4 million from the senior benefits payment program, which Dunleavy is seeking to repeal wholesale;
·   Cuts $2.5 million out of the nursing budget contained in Public Health;
·   Cuts $1.38 million from human services community matching grants;
·   A $455,000 cut to health and rehabilitation services in prisons;
·   A $3 million cut to the Village Public Safety Officer program;
·   $48.2 million cut from Marine Highway Vessel Operations;
·   Alaska Legal Services is zeroed out


 

Education funding takes a hit
The education cuts in the proposed FY20 budget are near to $900k+ in this school year so there will be some disruption across the region, $2.9 million if we include the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District.
• $2,016,216.00 Fairbanks North Star Borough School District
• $322,539.00 Galena
• $215,425.00 Yukon Koyukuk SD
• $115,245 Nenana
• $101,865.00 Yukon Flats SD
• $88,989.00 Iditarod SD
• $117,311.00 Alaska Gateway SD
• $14,303.00 Tanana SD
 

 

After massive delay, the State House is organized
The House finally elected a permanent speaker on Thursday, stopping the clock on the longest-ever impasse at 29 days, 21 hours and 29 minutes by our count (the clock started a little after 1 p.m. on the first day). Newly undeclared Dillingham Rep. Bryce Edgmon was elected to his second term as House Speaker on a 21-18 vote but will take the reins of a somewhat larger bipartisan caucus.  Though they didn’t vote for Edgmon, Reps. Steve Thompson and Tammie Wilson will also be joining the caucus securing Majority Leader and House Finance Committee co-chair positions, respectively. Those who did vote for Edgmon, Reps. Chuck Kopp and Jennifer Johnston will get seats as Rules Committee Chair and Finance Committee vice-chair, respectively.
 

We have a Federal budget, halfway through the fiscal year, we have a budget
Congress finally took action to finalize this year’s budget, ending a budget standoff that has resulted in the longest government shutdown in our country’s history. The spending package funds the remaining nine Departments until the end of September of 2019. Back pay for the employees that suffered under the shutdown has been unilaterally approved. The budget deal funds Indian Health Service, Department of the Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs at slightly increased levels. The bill includes money for rural broadband, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, High Energy Cost Grant Program, a slight increase for Clean and Safe Water and IHS Sanitation Facilities, a new grant program through IHS and BIA for opioid addiction, Essential Air Service, and Community Development Block Grants. Please click here for Senator Murkowski’s breakdown. Most of the press around the budget has had to do with the funding for Border Security – if you want to read about that, check it out here.  
 

Rep. Haaland (D-NM) to Co-Chair Native Caucus
Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and one of a group of strong women of color that has taken Congress by storm this year, has been chosen to co-chair the House Native American Caucus. She will serve with Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) who is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. Rep. McCollum (D-MN) who has served as co-chair of the Native American Caucus for the past six years will continue to serve as co-chair emeritus. Story here.  

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State Reports:
Bradner’s Alaska Economic Report  

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Federal Reports:
US Government Accountability Office – DOI Should Address Factors Hindering Tribal Administration of Federal Programs

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News Links:

State News:
·   Paying Dividends – a podcast series on the PFD and state budget decisions
·   Alaska Prisoners heading out of state
·   Fairbanks Legislators not on board with Gov’s budget
·   Interior Alaska officials give Tax bill a thumbs down
·   State will lose THOUSANDS of jobs due to budget cuts

 

National News:
·   Biggest land bill ever passes Senate  
·   White House listening session turns ugly
·   President of NCAI apologizes for telling Tribal Leader to leave session
·   Tribal leaders talk Climate Change
 

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