Governor Dunleavy speaks to chamber about proposed budget

FAIRBANKS, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy stopped in Fairbanks Thursday on his 'roadshow' traveling the state to talk about his proposed permanent fiscal plan. The first event of the day was a Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce breakfast, with 280 people in attendance.

On Dunleavy's 'roadshow' stop in Fairbanks the first event of the day was a Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce breakfast, with 280 people in attendance.

Traveling with the Governor is Commissioner of Revenue Bruce Tangeman, Attorney General Kevin Clarkson, and OMB Director Donna Arduin. Dunleavy started the event off with a presentation on Alaska's financial history along with his proposed budget cuts and constitutional amendments.

One attendee addressed the governor passionately regarding education. "It breaks my heart to think that my leaders think our schools are complete failures based on the MAP test," said Chris Villano.

During his presentation, Dunleavy said he did not mean disrespect to anyone that works for any of these programs, but that he is questioning whether increased money produces increased results.

"But when it comes to funding, there's obviously a lot of energy being put into maintaining or increasing funding, and I understand that, but again I think we have to have conversations along the lines of can we do better in k-12 education in terms of our outputs? The ferry system? The University of Alaska? Our healthcare? That's what we're looking at, those are the big driver," said Dunleavy.

In regards to the Alaska Marine Highway, Dunleavy said they currently have a RFP or request for proposal out to hire a consultant to look at how operations would look with the proposed cuts. He also believes private companies might be interested in operating ferries if they knew they weren't competing against a government subsidized transportation company.

"Instead of taxing upfront, taking the PFD upfront, we're advocating absolutely steep reductions, we know this is a painful process for a lot of folks, but we really believe if we can close this gap, and get the spend down to 2- 2.5 percent, instead of 4-4.5 percent, and if we don't hem ourselves in with constitutional amendments, history shows and demonstrates especially in the state of Alaska, if we come into another windfall or we come into another funding source, we're not gonna save it, we're gonna spend it," said Dunleavy.

There will be an event tonight at 6 p.m. at the Westmark Hotel held by Americans for Prosperity and Alaska Policy Forum.

We had an opportunity to sit down with the governor following this morning's event, and talk more about his proposed budget.

"We believe that by having the people of Alaska be part of forming what a fiscal plan is going into the future, there is a much better chance that that fiscal plan, that budget will be durable, sustainable, and permanent," said Dunleavy.