OMB Director Donna Arduin, right, listens to Gov. Mike Dunleavy announce his state budget during a press conference on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

OMB Director Donna Arduin, right, listens to Gov. Mike Dunleavy announce his state budget during a press conference on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Dunleavy budget proposal proposes to eliminate hundreds of jobs

Job cuts are not final

“Ain’t no power like the power of the people ‘cuz the power of the people won’t stop,” went the chant of protest outside Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office on Wednesday afternoon. The protesters were members of the AFL-CIO, a labor union that represents many state employees. The AFL-CIO left the capitol singing union songs.

The reason for the protest? Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budget delivered on his promise to cut $1.6 billion from the operating budget, and that includes a reduction of 625 full-time jobs in the state government. Office of Management and Budget Director Donna Arduin said the number of proposed job cuts totals more than 700 when temporary positions are considered, too.

Chris Dimond, a union affiliate who participated said, “It’s important the governor and administration know that these proposed cuts look to be pretty devastating to the state and we as labor aren’t going to stand by.”

It’s unclear whether or not the proposed job cuts include vacant positions, or ones that would be left vacant by way of retirement or other forms of attrition. The Office of Management and Budget did not immediately return a call by the Empire.

Some departments would see heavier cuts than others.

The Department of Health and Social Services, according to the proposed budget, would see 365 permanent jobs and 13 non-permanent jobs cut.

But, not every department would see a cut. For example, the Office of the Governor would see a total increase of 18 full-time jobs.

Although the budget cuts are massive, Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau was not surprised.

“The governor’s doing exactly what he said he would do,” Hannan said. “I think there were many different people who didn’t truly fathom what those cuts mean.”

Hannan noted the legislature will get to work on this budget and amendments will be made.

“I trust the legislature will not let the governor’s proposal be the budget we pass,” Hannan said.

Sen. Mia Costello, R-Anchorage said, “I told one of my constituents today, ‘Don’t go putting the For Sale sign in your yard just yet.’ People are reacting very strongly to the budget.”

“I think we all expected that,” she added.

Rep. Andi Story of Juneau encouraged constituents to make their voices heard.

“I think it’s real important that people weigh in on the budget,” Story, a Democrat, said. “This is their opportunity to weigh in on the budget. I would urge everyone to call in, call the governor’s office. Staff will take messages and make sure legislators and the governor are reading them.”


• Contact reporter Kevin Baird at 523-2588 or kbaird@soundpublishing.com.


More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of June 22

Here’s what to expect this week.

Participants in a pro-choice abortion rally gather outside the Governor’s Residence on Saturday to demand a pro-life flag flying at the entrance be taken down. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Pro-choice abortion protesters march to Governor’s Residence to demand removal of pro-life flag

Rally on second anniversary of U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision also focuses on fall election.

Eddie Petrie shovels gravel into a mine cart as fast as possible during the men’s hand mucking competition as part of Juneau Gold Rush Days on Saturday at Savikko Park. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Mucking, trucking, chucking and yukking it up at Juneau Gold Rush Days

Logging competitions, live music, other events continue Sunday at Savikko Park.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, June 20, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Pins supporting the repeal of ranked choice voting are seen on April 20 at the Republican state convention in Anchorage. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
State judge upholds most fines against group seeking repeal of Alaska ranked choice voting

An Anchorage Superior Court judge has ruled that opponents of Alaska’s ranked… Continue reading

Joshua Midgett and Kelsey Bryce Riker appear on stage as the emcees for MixCast 2023 at the Crystal Saloon. (Photo courtesy Juneau Ghost Light Theatre)
And now for someone completely different: Familiar faces show new personas at annual MixCast cabaret

Fundraiser for Juneau Ghost Light Theatre on Saturday taking place amidst week of local Pride events

Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire
A section of Angoon along the coast is seen on June 14. Angoon was destroyed by the U.S. Navy in 1882; here is where they first pulled up to shore.
Long-awaited U.S. Navy apology for 1882 bombardment will bring healing to Angoon

“How many times has our government apologized to any American Native group?”

Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon announced this week she plans to seek a third three-year term. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Mayor Beth Weldon seeking third term amidst personal and political challenges

Low mill rate, more housing cited by lifelong Juneau resident as achievements during past term.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, June 19, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read