The state House spent nearly five hours deliberating over amendments before it passed a $9 billion operating budget Thursday afternoon, voting 29-8 to move the budget to the Senate Finance Committee.
Eight amendments introduced by the House’s Democratic minority were voted down, ranging from increasing pre-kindergarten school funding to reducing funding for the Kodiak Launch Complex rocket range.
Lawmakers also sparred over how much money should be allotted for education to keep up with inflation.
“We are doing a miserable job of funding schools, Mr. Speaker, in this state, and not much has changed in 20 years,” Rep. Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage) told House Speaker Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski).
“When we've increased formula alone by 50 percent over the past 10 years, with a 23.5 percent growth factor in the Anchorage (Consumer Price Index), it sounds to me like we're trying to keep up with inflation,” said Rep. Alan Austerman (R-Kodiak).
Democrats say if their amendments were adopted, the total budget would still be less than what Gov. Sean Parnell requested.
The House’s Republican majority says voters demanded fiscal responsibility, and Thursday’s vote reflected that desire.
Channel 2’s Adam Pinsker contributed information to this story.
Contact Chris Klint