Governor Approves Capital & Operating Budgets With No Vetoes
Budgets reduce agency growth while maintaining current assets, finishing what was started and making wise investments
ANCHORAGE-Today, Governor Sean Parnell signed the fiscal year 2015 Operating and Capital Budgets in his office in Anchorage. During a speech earlier this afternoon to the Anchorage East Rotary Club, Governor Parnell told the crowd the Legislature met his spending limit and he would not be vetoing any items.
When the Senate Majority set its goals at the beginning of the 28th Legislature, one of the group’s biggest priorities was to control state spending. Over the past two years, that’s exactly what the Senate Finance Committee and its subcommittees worked diligently to accomplish.
“Though spending is still too high, we successfully cut state agency budgets,” said Senate Finance Co-Chair Peter Kelly (R-Fairbanks). “We will continue to put downward pressure on spending so we can get to a sustainable level of government in the future.”
“When we returned to Juneau in January of this year, the Senate and House Majorities were resolved to make meaningful reductions and changes to the operating budget, which we accomplished by reducing the day-to-day government operations by approximately $50 million from 2013,” said Senate Finance Co-Chair Senator Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage). “In addition to the day-to-day government operation cuts, we made structural changes to the way we pay annual contributions to the unfunded liability in the PERS and TRS systems. Due to the action of the Legislature to commit $3 billion to the pension liabilities, we will save approximately $1.3 billion over the next three years, significantly reducing pressure on the state operating budget.”
“As a member of three finance subcommittees, I looked at crafting the budget in a way to get the best ‘return on investment’ for our spending,” said Senate Resources Chair Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage Hillside/Turnagain Arm/N. Kenai). “One of the biggest goals for me was to improve access to resource development projects which create high paying jobs for Alaskans. Also, I want to stress, education funding provides the greatest ‘return on investment’ by supporting innovative approaches and vocational opportunities so our children and grandchildren will have a lifetime of opportunities and success. I believe we invested wisely by focusing on the future of our great state.”
“In the capital budget, we have made over $1 billion in reductions over the last two years. We were able to relieve future capital budgets by providing the final funding for large projects such as the Engineering School at the University of Alaska-Anchorage,” said Senator Meyer. “The success that we have achieved in keeping pressure on operating and capital budgets can be attributed to establishing funding priorities and keeping our commitment to reduce spending to protect our treasury and our savings over the long-term. The Capital Budget that was signed in to law today, represents exactly what we have prioritized and have been working on with Governor Parnell and the House Majority over the past two years. We have turned the trend of spending to a downward trend, rather than the year over year increase which had been the norm. In the capital budget, we have retained discipline in spending by prioritizing our spending: first, maintaining our current assets; second, finishing what we started; and third, making wise investments in projects that will benefit our communities and our state as a whole.”
“I want to congratulate Governor Parnell and the Co-Chairs of our Finance Committees for their tremendous effort to work together to ensure Alaska has a bright future,” said Senate Rules Chair Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage). “We exhibited restraint in spending while still meeting priorities like education and enabling future revenue sources like the Alaska LNG project.”
The budgets will go into effect on July 1, 2014.
Posted: May 29, 2014