Governor Walker approves $4.9 billion operating budget for FY18

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Governor Bill Walker signed House Bills 57 and 59 into law over the weekend, approving the 4.9 billion dollar operating budget passed for fiscal year 18 without any vetoes.

State spending for department operations has been cut by 145 million dollars from the previous year, and total state spending has been cut $2.9 billion since FY15, a 27 percent decrease in 3 years.

In passing this year's budget, the legislature set permanent fund dividends at $1,100 dollars for each eligible Alaskan, and chose to pay for the $2.5 billion dollar deficit entirely from savings.

This leaves only $2 billion in the state's main savings account, which pays for response to emergencies such as earthquakes, fires, and floods.

Two days before the legislature passed the budget, Standard & Poor's warned that the State of Alaska would receive a second credit downgrade if it continued to fund government services from savings and without a fiscal plan that includes revenue.