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Sen. Dave Donley
State Capitol, Room 508
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-3892
Fax: (907) 465-6595

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

Legislature Passes Operating Budget
Education, Public Safety and Public Health Top Priorities

For Immediate Release: May 8, 2001
Contact: Senator Dave Donley at (907) 465-3892
Representative Eldon Mulder at (907) 465-2647

(JUNEAU) - The House and Senate today both approved the state operating budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2001.

"We have provided funding to continue most state services at current levels, and added significant funding increases for Alaskans' top priorities," said Rep. Eldon Mulder (R-Anchorage), co-chair of the House Finance Committee. "Our efforts over the last five years to find cost savings and budget reductions has paid off, allowing us the flexibility to provide additional funding for education, public safety and public health."

The appropriations in the two bills that outline the fiscal year 2002 budget, House Bills 103 and 104, total $4.63 billion, including $2.25 billion from state general funds, $1.14 billion in federal funds, and $1.25 billion from other sources such as dividends from state-owned corporations. The budget approved by the finance committee preserved and enhanced essential state services, yet came in more than $60 million below the governor's requested level of funding.

"By employing missions and measures, the Finance committee members were able to prioritize state investment toward the agencies and programs that are delivering demonstrable results to benefit Alaskans," Mulder said.

"Alaskans told us education is a priority and the we agreed, providing the largest increase in education funding that our state has seen in years," said Sen. Dave Donley (R-Anchorage), co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. "These additional education funds will give all of our schools more resources to help all Alaska's children receive an outstanding education. In addition to the operating budget, Senate Bill 174 provides relief to local taxpayers from growing education costs."

Highlights of the operating budget include:

  • Increased funding for the University of Alaska totaling $33.5 million, including $9.3 million in general funds and $2 million in ACPE funds
  • More than $736 million for K-12 education, including $12.4 million for learning opportunity grants, $8.6 million for special education and Title I grants, and $50.6 million for student transportation
  • Additional funds for six new Alaska State Trooper positions, two new Fish and Wildlife protection officers and three new crime lab positions, including a DNA testing specialist
  • An increase of $604,500 in funds allocated to the Alaska Pioneers' Homes for additional staff nurses
  • An additional $107 million in funding for the Department of Health and Social Services, including $700,000 to address the Infant Learning program's waitlist and $100,000 for Tobacco Prevention and control.

"When you look at the funding provided in this budget, it is easy to see that we are providing substantial investments in Alaskan's priorities," said Mulder. "Minority members and the governor have claimed otherwise, but the numbers speak for themselves."

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