Alaskans urge lawmakers to pass balanced budget

Published: Jun. 11, 2017 at 3:47 PM AKDT
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Dozens of public and private sector employees met outside of the Legislative Information Office, holding signs urging the legislature to pass a balanced budget on Sunday.

The "Keep Alaska Open for Business" rally comes after an estimated 18,000 state employees were notified they may be out of a job July 1st if lawmakers fail to pass an operating budget soon.

Sam Dunham, an English teacher at Service High School said he was one of more than 200 Anchorage School District educators who are trying to figure out what to do next after receiving pink slips.

"It's not just numbers on a spread sheet, every cut is a person, a person with a family, with children with debt and there's nothing left to cut, we've cut too close to the bone, there's nothing left to cut except for people," Dunham said.

Vince Beltrami, president of Alaska AFL-CIO said the goal is to spur lawmakers to compromise and pass a budget.

"They're toying with peoples' lives and this is not a game, this is people's livelihoods and if they're gonna keep people guessing whether or not they're gonna be able to make their mortgage payment or put food on the table next week, that's pretty significant," Beltrami said.

Simultaneous rallies were held in Fairbanks and Juneau.