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Budget documents show potential cuts of about 460 state positions

Donna Arduin, head of the Office of Management and Budget, speaks Wednesday at a press conference where Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced his budget proposal. (James Brooks / ADN)

JUNEAU — New budget documents show Gov. Mike Dunleavy is proposing to cut nearly 460 state positions, a lower figure than what was given during a news conference Wednesday.

Dunleavy’s budget office director, Donna Arduin, said Wednesday that more than 700 positions could be cut, not counting any cuts the University of Alaska system might make.

Deputy director Laura Cramer said Thursday that the figures cited by Arduin were comparing Dunleavy’s budget to the draft plan largely crafted by Dunleavy’s predecessor that was seen as a placeholder and submitted in December.

The new budget documents compare Dunleavy’s budget to the current year spending plan. They identify 459 positions that could be cut. Many of those are within the Alaska Psychiatric Institute, the only state-owned psychiatric hospital, which is now being run by a private company.

Cramer said by email that the budget proposal removes funding for positions at the institute because those individuals would no longer be state employees but employees of the private contractor.

Of the 459 positions, Cramer said 82 were once filled but are currently vacant. Additionally, she said 25 positions, primarily nurses at the institute, are vacant and have never been filled.

Dunleavy’s budget plans still must be vetted by lawmakers, who will come up with their own version.

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