Alaska News

What happens if Alaska state government partially shuts down on July 1?

Along with layoff notices mailed to some 10,000 state employees Monday, state government departments announced which services they would curtail or eliminate should the Alaska Legislature's budget impasse continue and a partial government shutdown occur with the start of the July 1 fiscal year. Here are some of the announced effects.

Department of Transportation

The Ted Stevens Anchorage International and Fairbanks International airports would continue to operate as normal, but the dozen or so state airports that serve larger passenger and jet aircraft would operate with reduced hours. The Whittier tunnel would operate as normal, but the Alaska Marine Highway System would cease providing passenger service.

Transportation construction projects being planned and designed or under contract would continue, and state highway maintenance paid by the federal government would continue into September.

The Weights and Measures Office, which regulates the accuracy of weighing and measuring devices in supermarkets, gas stations and taxis, would limit its services.

Department of Administration

Agencies that will not be affected by the partial shutdown include the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles, Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and Violent Crimes Compensation Board. The Division of Retirement and Benefits will continue to process remaining state employee and all retiree benefits with health trust dollars that are unaffected by the legislative inaction.

The Alaska Public Offices Commission, tasked with oversight of elected officials and lobbyists, would close; labor contract bargaining would cease; the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission would not receive any grant funds for local TV or radio.

Vendor purchasing and supply payments would be reduced or eliminated; hundreds of state leases will not be paid in full; state information technology and communications equipment would not be maintained.

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Department of Fish and Game

Commercial salmon fisheries would remain open and under management. The divisions of Sport Fish, Wildlife Conservation and Commercial Fisheries Limited Entry Commission would carry on as normal. Many research operations would largely cease.

Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

Uniformed Alaska National Guard members would continue their duties as normal, but all Office of Veterans Affairs staff members would be laid off. All Alaska Military Youth Academy staffers would be laid off after August. Three staff members would stay on at the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and should a disaster occur, more staffers would be called back to work.

Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development

There would be minimal impact to services provided by the Alaska Energy Authority, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. and the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Service cuts would be minimal at the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, responsible for regulating alcohol and marijuana sales, the Division of Banking and Securities, the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska and the Division of Insurance.

The biggest service reductions and cuts would impact rural utility assistance, the Local Boundary Commission, the Alaska Native Language Preservation Council, grants administration and local government support. Economic development activities would be suspended, although most loan operations, including the Commercial Fishing Revolving Loan program, would continue.

Department of Natural Resources

The department will continue wildland firefighting operations, the Alaska Volcano Observatory and the dam safety program. Alaska state parks will operate as usual through August. Other programs that also will continue: the Recorder's Office, Mental Health Trust Land Office, Office of Project Management and Permitting, State Pipeline Coordinator's Office and Office of Boating Safety.

Permits and authorizations will be delayed. The Public Information Centers in Anchorage and Fairbanks will be closed. Agricultural services will be reduced, including including the seed and pathology labs, seed sales and the following programs: horticulture, forage, soils, revegetation, marketing, invasive weeds and technical on-farm assistance.

Department of Environmental Conservation

The following services will continue to operate: Division of Spill Prevention and Response and Environmental Health Laboratory Air Monitoring and Quality Assurance Program, which forecasts the impact of weather on air quality.

Air and water monitoring, laboratory testing, shellfish PSP testing, permitting, inspections, complaint response and support to many community environmental programs for the most part will be suspended.

Department of Education

Child nutrition services, teacher certification and the Alaska Student Loan Corp. are among the programs that will continue to operate. School bus inspections will be fully funded.

State general funds for early learning will be reduced by $5.7 million, potentially closing Head Start programs in Alaska because they rely on those funds to meet a federal requirement for a state contribution.

The Alaska State Library and the Alaska State Archives will not operate.

Department of Revenue

The Tax Division will continue to collect and account for taxes and refunds. Information such as oil prices and production, which is typically posted daily, may not be available on the Tax Division website. The Permanent Fund Dividend Division, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and Alaska Housing Finance Corporation will not be affected.

The Child Support Services Division will continue to operate as usual during the early months of a shutdown.

The Treasury Division will have minor staffing reductions. All investment and cash management activities will continue.

Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Programs that would continue operating include Unemployment Insurance, Disability Determinations, Workers' Compensation, Mechanical Inspection and Employment and Training Services.

Vocational Rehabilitation Client Services, Occupational Safety and Health, and Adult Basic Education programs would continue operating through Sept. 30.

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All staff members would be laid off at the Alaska Labor Relations Agency, Wage and Hour Administration, and the Alaska Workforce Investment Board.

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Budgets that were funded and will continue to operate include the departments of Corrections, Public Safety, Health and Social Services, the Legislature and the Alaska Court System.

Department of Administration's FAQ on effects of government shutdown

Jeannette Lee Falsey

Jeannette Lee Falsey is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch News. She left the ADN in 2017.

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