Gov. Mike Dunleavy is set to deliver his fourth State of the State address at 7 p.m. Tuesday from the Capitol in Juneau.
This address marks a partial return to normalcy for the annual speech, which he delivered remotely from his office in Anchorage last year due to the pandemic. Lawmakers have since relaxed some of its COVID-19 rules and the Capitol is open to the public.
Andrew Kitchenman, who covers the statehouse for KTOO and Alaska Public Media, discussed the upcoming speech. He said the state is in a much different situation now than during Dunleavy’s first address to lawmakers in 2019. That first year, Dunleavy shocked many Alaskans with proposals for sweeping cuts to state budgets and services. Kitchenman said the governor’s budget proposal is notable this year for the opposite reason.
“This is the first budget that he’s proposed that neither draws down state savings, nor includes large cuts to state programs and state spending,” Kitchenman said. “And that’s basically possible for three reasons: Growth in the permanent fund, the high price of oil right now, and the large amount of federal aid that’s come in as a result of the pandemic.”
Kitchenman said the idea of making Alaska more self-sufficient has been a recurring theme in Dunleavy’s past speeches. For example, food security, energy independence and medical supplies all came up last year.
He said he’s also listening for what the governor has to say about Alaska’s elections.
“I’m interested in what he has to say about election legislation,” h said. “That is a big topic right now, and the first non-budget bill that the administration is sponsoring this session is an election bill.”