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Wed Feb 6, 2019, 07:32 AM

Budget director's history of cutting with 'hatchet, not a scalpel' sparks concern

New Office of Management and Budget Director Donna Arduin is known for slashing state budgets and hailed by some as a budget wizard. One reason Gov. Mike Dunleavy brought her on to his team is to help him with the task of cutting an estimated $1.6 billion from the operating budget.

Last week, Dunleavy introduced Senate Bill 39, a supplemental budget bill that proposed cutting $20 million from the education budget, and now some legislators say they’re are on high alert. SB 39 irked legislators and school officials around the state because the proposed $20 million cut specifically targets a bipartisan budget deal made in May 2018. The $20 million was distributed to the state’s 53 school districts and the Mt. Edgecumbe school in Sitka.

Sen. Donny Olson, D-Golovin, said Dunleavy made education a campaign issue and because of that, Olson believes Arduin’s work does not completely reflect Dunleavy’s intentions. Olson said he believes Dunleavy has a full plate and doesn’t have time to micromanage Arduin.

“I don’t necessarily blame the governor for doing that,” Olson said about SB 39 during a Thursday news conference. “I think the OMB director’s the one with the hatchet out there. And it’s a hatchet, not a scalpel.”

Read more: https://www.juneauempire.com/news/budget-directors-history-of-cutting-with-hatchet-not-a-scalpel-sparks-concern/

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