Gov. Bill Walker is giving his State of the State address Thursday night. The state is facing tough times. Walker’s budget plan includes a reduction in the permanent fund dividend payments that Alaskans receive each year.
State government reporter Andrew Kitchenman met with Alaskans at Juneau’s legislative welcome reception Wednesday night and asked what they want to hear from the Governor.
“I would like to hear him address the budget cuts for AK pre-K, as well as any early childhood education programs that are in the state of Alaska…. I’m concerned because I’m an advocate for early childhood education and with the budget cuts, it’s going to affect a lot of children, especially children that are in low income areas, that need AK pre-K.”
“I’m hoping that he’ll start using the PFD … because that’s what it’s for — we’re in a crisis. And, um, that is our rainy day — and we are in the rain literally and figuratively, when it comes to our oil being $27 a barrel now. So, that’s where I’m at.”
“Many of the things that, ah, rural Alaskans need are health care, education, VPSO program, and, um, a whole lot of things that, you know, we take for granted, like, ah, the Fish and Game.”
“You know, I’d like to hear more about his, um, his plan on reforming the PFD in order to, to, uh, balance state services and revenue. I, uh, I also would like to hear what he has to say about, uh, public education. Um, we’ve been flat-funded for quite a few years. Uh, and as a result, we’ve really, really felt the pinch here in Juneau.”
“I would like to see some more options on how we can can keep the ferries going, uh, every school district in Southeast Alaska depends on it. Most of us that grew up in Southeast, uh, it’s a point of pride to us. It’s like our state troopers — it’s very uniquely Alaskan. There’s no place else in the world that has this system like that.”
That was Mildred Parker of Anchorage, Janet Kussart of Juneau, Bonnie Ayojiak of Manokotak, Emil Mackey of Juneau, and Travis Lewis of Hoonah talking with APRN’s Andrew Kitchenman.