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8/15/2019
Happiness

The question is whether any Alaskan will be happy after Gov. Mike Dunleavy is done dealing with the state operating budget this year.

Dunleavy, intending to eliminate a $1.6 billion spending deficit in one year, presented the state Legislature with a skeleton budget in February.

The cuts started to unfold when the lawmakers took their turn with the budget, listening to public testimony for months and ultimately restoring millions of dollars to the budget.

Not satisfied with sending a “back to basics” message with his original budget, Dunleavy proceeded to veto about $440 million from the budget given to him by the Legislature.

That body failed to override Dunleavy’s vetos.

Since then, the governor has gradually been adding funding back into the budget.

The University of Alaska, which had experienced a 41% decrease in one proposed budget, and Early Learning Funding are two examples.

Dunleavy negotiated a three-year agreement with the university’s Board of Regents to make about $75 million in cuts over three years, about half of what he earlier intended.

The Early Learning Funding is being fully restored to the tune of $9 million.

First, Dunleavy made many Alaskans unhappy with the cuts in his original budget proposal. He continued to disappoint with vetoes.

Then, when he started restoring funding, he displeased more Alaskans who favor the deep cuts in state spending and elimination of the budget deficit.

Gov. Dunleavy, after about nine months in office, has managed to make Alaskans on both sides of the aisle and in between unhappy this year. And he’s not done yet.