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Fri Aug 9, 2019, 09:50 PM

Oil unease: Alaska faces tough budget decisions

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Daniel Bowen came to Alaska in 2011, looking for adventure and opportunity. He and his wife eventually settled on the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage, a salmon fishing haven calling itself “Alaska’s Playground.”

But the Bowens, both teachers, recently returned to their native Michigan. After years of stress over delayed state budgets, their breaking point, he said, was Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed reductions to K-12 spending and health and social service programs.

“We started to realize that Alaska isn’t turning out to be where we want to raise our kids,” Daniel Bowen said, adding later: “As much as we loved Alaska, we can only take so much, we can only take so much uncertainty.”

The state has been roiled by a budget dilemma linked to its uneasy reliance on oil, bringing a reckoning that has scrambled traditional political alliances. For decades, Alaska binged on infrastructure and community projects when oil prices were high and cut spending and closed facilities when they weren’t. This time, prices haven’t boomed and after years of drawing down savings and cutting expenses, state leaders face tough decisions.

Read more: https://www.apnews.com/452d2d0431f544be9abc7de32169a58a

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