Dunleavy discusses legislative priorities

High expectations for outcomes already in place
Dunleavy discusses legislative priorities
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 7:17 PM AKST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - Gov. Mike Dunleavy articulated his priorities for the 33rd legislative session, highlighting education, the Permanent Fund dividend, responsible resource development and more in an interview on Thursday.

The proposed PFD — nearly $3,900 — would become the highest in state history. That amount is likely subject to change, but Dunleavy stated it was a matter of procedure.

“The PFD is calculated by law, not something I make up,” Dunleavy asserted. “We’ve submitted a PFD based upon law. There has been discussions the past several years as to what the calculation should be. So until that calculation is changed, and from my perspective the people have some say in that, we’re going to continue to propose and follow the laws of the state of Alaska.”

Education in the state of Alaska is a likely target of reform amongst legislators and the governor. Increasing funding and outcomes-based metrics measuring school performance appear popular in light of a spectrum of challenges that include low test scores and teacher retention.

Dunleavy spent decades as an educator and administrator in Alaskan schools, and shared his perspective on funding before lawmakers take the subject to task.

“There are issues with funding,” Dunleavy said. “We’ve talked about the fact that we believe there needs to be money put into education. There’s inflationary rates obviously, not just impacting educators, but everybody. But nonetheless, the schools are being impacted... That will manifest itself as some increase, of some type, I’m sure.”

Regarding the possible imposition of a state income tax, the governor stated he did not support the idea.

“An income tax merely takes money away from somebody else, it takes the wealth that they created,” Dunleavy said.

The governor said that he instead wants to focus on creating wealth and resources within the state.

In addition to carbon credits, Dunleavy spoke about responsible resource development, and Alaska’s deep bench of natural resources. Over the last several decades, the governor stated he felt there was an ongoing effort at the federal level to turn Alaska into a “natural park,” in lieu of the treatment states generally receive.