Governor Bill Walker has ordered his state departments to “prepare for the crisis that an unprecedented government shutdown would impose upon Alaska”.
However, the state legislature failed to pass a budget. The looming shutdown, which is just 22 days way, would affect business and individuals alike.
Governor Walker said: “I remain hopeful that both legislative bodies will come to a compromise in the next nine days of this special session.
“However, my team and I must be prepared for a worst-case scenario. That is why I have ordered that an incident command structure be set up—much like we implemented to address the opioid crisis.”
Some of the services provided by the governor’s and lieutenant governor’s staff at risk of being shut down, delayed or interrupted if the legislature fails to pass a budget before July 1.
A government spokesperson said: “This year’s preparations for a government shutdown are different than in 2015, when the legislature had passed a partially funded budget. This year, money has not been appropriated for any government services. As a government shutdown in Alaska is unprecedented, Department of Law is examining what money could be spent to continue vital state services if the legislature has not fulfilled its constitutional obligation to pass a budget.”
Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack confirmed the Department of Natural Resources is working with Department of Law to prepare shutdown aftershocks.
An official statement read: “DNR manages the State of Alaska’s land, water and mineral resources. These resources supply most of the revenue for the state General Fund, endow the Permanent Fund, and support thousands of private sector jobs. Even a temporary shutdown could disrupt routine activities on state lands and collection of fees and royalties.
“In the event of a government shutdown, DNR would likely continue wildland firefighting operations and operation of the Alaska Volcano Observatory. DNR is looking at the possibility that virtually all other DNR programs and activities involving state land, water, forestry, agriculture, geological and natural hazard research, oil and gas leases, pipeline right-of-way oversight, and state parks, could be suspended or experience significant interruptions.”
Commissioner Mack added: “I am very hopeful that the Legislature will pass a fully funded budget before July 1 so the Department of Natural Resources can continue to generate revenue for the State of Alaska, support Alaska’s resource-based economy, and facilitate public enjoyment of our state lands.”