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Senate Democrats Offer Operating Budget Amendments

Goals: Save for the future, protect the Permanent Fund, educate our children, reduce wasteful spending, and look after vulnerable Alaskans

JUNEAU – Senate Democrats offered 19 amendments to the operating budget aimed at protecting the Permanent Fund, saving for the future, educating Alaska’s children, reducing wasteful spending, and assisting Alaska’s most vulnerable citizens.

To view a list of offered amendments, click here: http://alaskasenatedems.com/docs/2014_Budget-Amendments-by-theme.pdf

Senator Johnny Ellis (D-Anchorage) offered an amendment transferring $3 billion from the Statutory Budget Reserve to the Retirement Trust to reduce Alaska’s unfunded liability.

“We can all agree that with Alaska’s future economic uncertainty, we must conserve our wealth. Paying down our unfunded liability now will leave us with more financial flexibility in the future,” said Senator Ellis.

Minority Leader Hollis French (D-Anchorage) proposed an amendment to provide $2 million of pre-kindergarten funding. Research shows funding Pre-k saves governments substantial funds in the future as well as provides measurable differences in the future life outcomes of children.

“With billion dollar deficits a reality, let’s fund the programs we know work. Pre-kindergarten dramatically improves the trajectory of a child’s life. With a small investment upfront, we see massive returns. It’s just common sense,” said Senator French.

Senator Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage) introduced an amendment targeting reductions in Alaska’s pandemic level of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“Alaska’s domestic violence and sexual assault statistics are distressing and unacceptable. Funding community prevention coordinators as well as an anti-sex trafficking task force, and legal assistance for victims will be a step in the right direction,” said Senator Gardner.

Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) sponsored an amendment to deposit $1 billion from the Statutory Budget Reserve into the Permanent Fund corpus.

“As we face billions in annual deficits, the time to protect our savings is now. Depositing $1 billion into the body of the Permanent Fund will ensure it is safe and secure for the future generations.  Without this action, Alaska’s savings will disappear as fast as gold dust in a tornado,” stated Senator Wielechowski.

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