22nd Alaska State Legislature
News from the House Majority
Representative Eldon Mulder, Co-Chair
Representative Bill Williams, Co-Chair

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Rep. Eldon Mulder
State Capitol, Room 507
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-2647
Fax: (907) 465-3518

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Rep. Bill Williams
State Capitol, Room 511
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-3424
Fax: (907) 465-3793

House FY03 Budget Holds Line on Spending
Rejects Governor's Increases; Starts With Last Year's Plan

Released: February 11, 2002
Contact: Representative Eldon Mulder at (907) 465-2647
Representative Bill Williams at (907) 465-3424

(JUNEAU) The House Finance Committee today introduced its operating budget bills for the next fiscal year, holding the line on state spending and bypassing the governor's proposal to meet state shortfalls with a 7 percent bigger budget.

"Since Alaska is facing a significant budget deficit, it seems more prudent to start with the level of spending we agreed to in last year's budget and work from there than it does to start with a budget that includes unrealistic spending increases," Rep. Eldon Mulder (R-Anchorage) co-chair of the House Finance Committee, said Monday.

In House Bills 403 and 404, the Finance Committee uses the previous budget year's management plan of $2.286 billion - a figure representing last year's General Fund operating budget as adjusted for supplemental spending requests and interim adjustments - as the starting point for this year's budget work. By comparison, the governor's budget proposal calls for the state to spend $2.444 billion, or $155 million more.

"We are starting at the level of spending the Legislature and the administration agreed was appropriate last year," said Co-Chair Rep. Bill Williams (R-Saxman). "Now, the subcommittees can begin the hard work of examining each department, measuring how well they are achieving their missions, and coming up with a spending plan that works for each department and for the whole state."

With state revenue forecasts predicting a shortfall of nearly $900 million this year, and $1.2 billion next year, it would be imprudent for the Legislature to begin its budget process by building in increases, Mulder said. While some departments may be able to show they both need and can be accountable for more state resources, such increases will have to be offset by reductions in other less critical areas of government.

"Anyone who's ever run a business or a household knows that when times are tough, you have to set priorities and make decisions about what is really important," Mulder said. "I trust that the administration will work with us to establish those priorities and craft a budget that may not cover all our wants, but will definitely fulfill our needs."

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