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May 19, 2023

The Legislature Passes the Budget and Adjourns Within 24 Hours of Special Session Call

One day after the adjournment of the first regular session of the 33rd Legislature, lawmakers met in the Capitol and quickly amended and passed a final budget.


Less than one day after Governor Dunleavy issued a proclamation calling the Legislature back into special session, lawmakers came together and voted on an updated fiscal package. It became apparent midday Thursday that lawmakers had reached a tentative agreement on the budget. The House gaveled in and immediately kicked the budget back to the Senate to amend the bill. The Senate then introduced one amendment adding $34.2 million in capital projects. The capital project additions were mainly for municipalities and boroughs and benefitted lawmakers representing Anchorage, Fairbanks, Mat-Su, Kenai, Bethel, Dillingham, Kotzebue, and Tok. Once the amendment was adopted, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the budget and sent it back to the House for concurrence.  The House quickly took up the budget and voted 26Y-14N in favor of its passage.

Ultimately, the budget that passed through the Legislature is welcome news for the University System. The Legislature accepted the faculty and staff compensation increases, WWAMI expansion, TVEP funding,  MHT funding, and receipt authority introduced by the Governor, and added additional operating and capital components. In total, the budget passed by the Legislature contained the following for the University of Alaska: 

  • $6.5 million in supplemental FY 23 funding for retroactive 3% faculty and additional 1% staff pay increases. 

  • $15.0 million increase in FY 24 operating funds

    • $13.2 million for a 2.75% pay increase for faculty and staff in FY 24

    • $48 thousand,000 increase to the WWAMI program for growing the program by 10 students/year 

    • $96.2 thousand increase in Technical Vocational Education Programs (TVEP)

    • $444.4 thousand increase for Mental Health Trust Authority programs

    • $1.3 million for workforce capacity building efforts including supporting the Alaska Native Success Initiative (ANSI) program, our teacher and administrator preparation program (PITAAS), STEM, Earth Science, and Critical Minerals programs, the UAS Maritime program, and the UAF Middle College program

  • $12.5 million in one-time capital funding for special projects:

  • $10 million for continued UA Drones program support

  • $500 thousand for Phase 1 of our Alaska Food Security and Independence initiative 

  • $2 million for Phase 2 of the WWAMI Program facilities expansion 

  • Approximately $39 million for major deferred maintenance:

    •  $17.5 million for UAA’s Heating, Mechanical, and Electrical System Improvements on four 40+-year-old facilities that are key to campus operations 

    •  $3.6 million for UAS’s Technical Education Center, Maritime Training Center, and Sitka Hangar Building Roof Systems, Safety Improvements, and Regulatory Compliance projects 

    •  $7.1 million for UAF Patty Pool Code Corrections, Campus-wide fire alarm replacements, and other Safety and Compliance projects 

    •  $1.5 million for UAA’s Arcade & Bridge Lounge Campus Building Envelope & Roof Systems Renewal 

    •  $1.7 million for UAS’ Fuel Tanks Replacement, Mourant Covered Stairway, and Sitka Emergency Power 

    •  $2.1 million for UAF’s Cutler Apartments Building Envelope and Roof Systems 

    •  $300,000 UAA Social Sciences Building Exterior Doors 

    •  $1.2 million for UAS’s Paul Building Elevator Replacement, Heat Pump Replacement, and Other Interior Systems projects 

    •  $4.0 million for UAF’s Rural and Community Campus Renewals

  • $8.5 million in receipt authority:

    • $6 million for the UAA Alaska Leaders Archive and Library Renovation

    • $2.5 million for the University Park Early Childhood Development Center

This funding is a significant piece of providing stability for the university system. Now that the Legislature has finalized the budget, it will be transmitted to the Governor. Governor Dunleavy may accept all of the Legislature’s changes or veto any specific line items in the budget. Notably, any line item veto requires a two-thirds majority to override.  As the Governor fulfills his constitutional obligation to review this budget for final approval, any voice that can be raised to encourage the Governor to keep this budget is always appreciated.

For more information, contact Director of State Relations for the University of Alaska System Chad Hutchison, cell 907-378-3946, email You can also follow the University of Alaska Government Relations on our Twitter page.

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