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Governor Parnell Highlights Legislative Accomplishments, Expresses Concern over Spending Levels

April 19, 2010, Juneau, Alaska - At the close of the legislative session, Governor Parnell commended legislative action that addressed his priorities of jobs and families, and expressed concern over legislative spending levels.

"In this legislative session, we took steps to grow our economy with oil tax credits for exploration and production dollars invested in Alaska, tourism tax reductions, increased tourism marketing dollars, a plan to address deferred maintenance of state facilities, and the funding of major infrastructure projects," Governor Parnell said.

"I am pleased the Legislature worked with me to adopt a comprehensive education package - and to increase post-secondary options for our young people through merit-based scholarships. We also forward-funded K-12 education and provided for new school construction."

Legislators passed a bill that would award merit scholarships ranging from $2,379 to $4,755 to students who earned them by taking a more rigorous curriculum than currently required. Although Governor Parnell proposed a sustainable funding mechanism, the Legislature chose to study funding mechanisms through the interim. If funding is provided in the 2011 legislative session, merit scholarships would be available to fund post-secondary education in that fall.

Governor Parnell is also pleased that the Legislature supported his public safety initiatives with stronger laws concerning domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor, and child pornography. Related bills on conditions for bail and standards for DNA evidence retention also were passed.

But the governor expressed concern about the almost unprecedented size of the capital budget

"The level of spending is simply unsustainable," he said. "I remain committed to a reasonable budget - one that spends less, creates jobs, brings more private-sector investment, and saves more for the future."

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