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Gara, Kawasaki: No Raises for Governor, Cabinet While Alaska Suffers Budget Cuts

With $2 billion deficit from the governor’s oil giveaway, Alaska cannot afford raises

Today, Representative Les Gara and Representative Scott Kawasaki announced they are filing legislation to prevent recently recommended pay raises for the governor and his top cabinet members from taking effect while Alaskans suffer from cuts to state services and the state is depleting its savings.  

“The governor created this mess with his oil giveaway, so he should be subject to the same budget restraints that his giveaway is forcing on the rest of Alaska,” said Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks). “If we can’t afford teachers, mental and behavioral health access, and road repairs, we can’t afford raises for the governor and his cabinet.”

The legislation would reject over $128,000 in raises next year for the governor, lieutenant governor, and department commissioners recently approved by the State Officers Compensation Commission. The raises will take effect automatically unless the Legislature passes legislation to reject them within sixty days of receiving the official proposal at the beginning of the next legislative session.

"The governor has announced a $2 billion loss in revenue, and proposed a budget that will lead to a fourth year in a row of education staff cuts, and the continued shelving of his department’s own child abuse and neglect prevention recommendations,” said Gara (D-Anchorage). “While I appreciate his willingness to discuss these shortcomings, it would be wrong to increase the pay for the governor, lieutenant governor and fourteen commissioners under an austerity budget. 

The Legislature passed legislation in 2013 to increase commissioner salaries by one percent this coming year and 2.5 percent the following year.  The State Officers Compensation Commission Executive Compensation proposed increases come on top of what the Legislature passed for this coming year.

"I'd consider whether the proposed raises make sense in one or two cases where commissioners have arguably overwhelming workloads. But $130,000 this year, and even more in following years, in additional salaries to the governor, lieutenant governor and all fourteen commissioners is contrary to the legislation passed this year and is overspending I can't support." said Gara.

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