Alaska to Cut Over 300 Government Jobs Due to Plunge in Oil Prices

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With falling oil prices aggravating Alaska's budget deficit, Governor Bill Walker eliminates over 300 state positions.

Bill Walker - Sputnik International
Alaska Likely to Face Budget Cuts Amid Drop in Oil Prices
Bill Walker, a new Governor of Alaska, proposed to eliminate about 300 state positions in an effort to reduce the size of the state’s government, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports.

The governor said although he did not want to present the proposal, it was a necessary step considering that Alaska is going through tough times with a large budget deficit due to falling oil prices.

“It’s one that hurts. We have roughly a $10-million-a-day deficit, we had to do something. We had to make some step forward.” – Walker said during a news conference, as cited by Fairbanks Daily News.

The University of Alaska was hit the hardest in the sheer number of jobs cut. The new budget includes 85 full-time position cuts within the University of Alaska system, Bismarck Tribune reports.

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Along with the job cuts, the government of Alaska reduced a number of social services that the state used to provide, including elimination of funding for community jails and large cuts in healthcare programs, Fairbanks Daily News informs.

The move was caused by the plunge in oil prices. Alaskan North Slope oil price is currently around $50 a barrel, while it was $107 a barrel, when Alaskan lawmakers ended their last session in April, Bismarck Tribune says.

Despite the budget cuts and massive job losses, Governor Walker tried to stay positive. He stated that the current fiscal situation is an opportunity to bring constructive change into the Alaskan government and added that the state will eventually find a way out of the crisis.

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