PETERSBURG-AK Alaska’s House Finance Committee voted down a proposal to add funding for the University of Alaska’s Marine Advisory Program Monday. The program is facing cuts to six of its ten local offices around the state due to declining federal grant funds. As the committee worked to finalize its operating budget proposal, Nome democrat Neil Foster offered an amendment adding the University’s request for 614 thousand dollars for MAP.
University officials have said the committee’s general fund spending proposal would not provide enough to cover map as well as many other programs that need additional money. Anchorage Republican and Committee Chair Mike Hawker acknowledged lawmakers had received extensive public comment in support of MP but hawker emphasized that the state had to live within its means and he preferred to let the University decide how to allocate its limited funding.
The Committee voted seven to three against the amendment.
The vote comes on the heels of testimony from program supporters around the state. Speaking to the committee last week, residents from Petersburg and other coastal towns echoed the University’s request for state money to prevent cuts to six rural map offices. Matt Lichtenstein has a look at some of those comments.
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