House of Representatives poised to debate budget

    The Alaska State Capitol in downtown Juneau.

    Juneau, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska House is set to begin debating next week its version of the state operating budget, which spares areas such as education, the university system, Medicaid and the state ferry system the level of cuts proposed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

    Whatever passes the House will go to the Senate, and differences between the two will need to be hashed out. Top lawmakers have said they want to work with Dunleavy to limit potential vetoes.

    Dunleavy called for sweeping budget cuts in response to an ongoing deficit currently estimated at $1.6 billion. He also proposed full Alaska Permanent Fund dividends for residents.

    Lawmakers have been looking at paying a smaller dividend to afford provide more services.

    The Senate Finance Committee plans to take public testimony on the budget next week.

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