2024, Alaska

Governor’s Budget – Highlights

Last Updated: January 14th, 2024

In December, Governor Dunleavy released his budget for the second session of the 33rd Legislature.  

Recap of the process

The Governor submits a budget.  The Legislature reviews it, then adds, changes and/or deletes parts of it. There is, of course, politics involved; if the party in charge of both houses of the Legislature is the same party as the Governor, then much is left intact.  In Alaska this year given a bi-partisan Senate majority, it isn’t clear what will be changed. Add in the fact that in an election year with all of the House and half of the Senate up for election, many of the Legislators will be trying to impress their particular voters in their own districts.

This budget, like with all budgets, is just a plan, the actual amounts may vary.  If oil prices go up or down, for instance, or if there are emergencies which arise, etc. these budget numbers will change.

Alaska has two primary reserve accounts – the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR) and the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve (ERA). If the budget exceeds the amount of revenues collected, the State can use the these funds to make up the difference.  If these accounts are emptied, this could mean that any future revenue shortfalls would not be able to cover even the basic services.  

The third account is the  Statutory Budget Reserve. This fund is now part of the General Fund of the Legislature. 

These are investment funds and are subject to market forces. The Legislature is supposed  to add money back into these reserve accounts to protect against market losses. The last few years are a great example why that is important. The year-to-date rate of return  of the Permanent Fund  ERA was only 1.65%  in November 2023. That won’t keep up with inflation.  Past averages were much higher. 

Budget Detail

The Governor’s proposed budget was about $13.9 billion dollars with approximately $6.27 billion in Federal funding. This leaves about $7.3 billion for the state to cover.  This is roughly $1.3 billion more than the current year (due primarily to a proposed PFD of $3,400 which would amount to $2.3 billion). 

Total projected revenue available to the state is about $6.3 billion this year  – basically the same as last year. This is made up of about $3.5 billion  from the Permanent Fund earnings and the rest from oil (~$1.8 to 2.3 billion estimated) and various other taxes and fees.  The Governor is requesting  the Legislature  draw the remaining  (approximately) $1 billion dollars from the Constitutional Budget Reserve and the Statutory Budget Reserve. 

The Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR) currently has about $2.8 billion and the Statutory Budget Reserve is now part of the General Fund and has no funds as of January 2024 (per Sen. Kiehl’s office). The Statutory Budget Reserve and the Permanent Funds Earnings Reserve holds funds which can be used by the Legislature with a majority vote (although with caveats).  The CBR needs a 3/4 majority in order to take money from it.

Here are a few highlights of other areas of the budget which may be of interest to our members.

Elections/Ballot Initiatives

While we are watching existing bills (see Legislation Tracking), which do have some fiscal impacts, right now the only additional item which seems pertinent in the Elections area  is the Division of Elections request for $120,000 to hire a full-time public relations manager. 


The Governor’s budget funding for education went back to the Statutory funding level without the additional funds the Legislature approved last year (half of which were vetoed by the Governor). This will result in an overall decrease of about 9% due to declining enrollment and eliminating the extra funds allocated last year mean a year-over-year drop of $119.5 million. The Governor did add funds to education in a few other ways: $8.3 million for construction and major maintenance, $5 million for the Alyeska Reading Academy and Institute, $1.5 million for career and technical education, and $1.5 million for “teacher recruitment, retention certification and apprenticeship.”  We expect quite a debate about this. We will need you to add your voices to support additional funding.

Senior support

The Governor’s budget did not include funding to continue  the Senior Benefits Program (expires this year) which pays low-income seniors up to $250 to help. There are already multiple bills (see the Pre-filed Bills article) which seek to include the $21 million dollar program.

University of Fairbanks

The University has a number of budget requests in for this session. One of them is $10 million to grow their PhD program. They are  also “asking for permission” to accept $5.6 million from a Federal Grant which would pay for renovations to turn the Fairbanks University Park facility into a childcare center and an education lab.

References and links to additional external information:

Alaska Office of Management and Budget: https://omb.alaska.gov/

Alaska Governor’s office: https://gov.alaska.gov/

Permanent Fund Dividend Program:  https://apfc.org/ 

Alaska Senate Majority:


Alaska Beacon articles:  




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