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Senator Sean Parnell Portrait of Senate Finance Co-Chair, Senator John Torgerson

Senator Sean Parnell
State Capitol, Room 518
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-2995
Fax: (907) 465-6592
Send E-Mail

Senator John Torgerson
State Capitol, Room 516
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-2828
Fax: (907) 465-4779
Send E-Mail

Senate Finance Committee Reduces Operating Budget

For Immediate Release: April 20, 1999
Contact: Senator Sean Parnell at (907) 465-2995 or
Senator John Torgerson at (907) 465-2828

Juneau -- Reaching their goal to significantly reduce general fund spending, the Senate Finance Committee passed its Fiscal Year 2000 operating budget Tuesday. The budget is approximately $60 million below last year's budget. Senate Republicans exceeded their $40 million Five-Year Plan reduction target by restructuring some state programs and emphasizing agency reductions, while funding priorities including education and public safety.

"While this budget fully funds education and provides basic services, it was created with the state's $1 billion fiscal gap in mind," said Senator Sean Parnell (R-Anchorage). "The Senate Finance Committee reduced the cost of state employees, state travel, and the legislature's own budget."

"This budget provides a good foundation for developing a long-term balanced budget solution," Parnell said. "It includes some structural changes that make government smaller and, over the long haul, will save the state millions of dollars."

The Senate Finance Committee operating budget increases the University's budget and fully funds K-12 education. The Senate restored $32 million in state municipal assistance and revenue sharing to ensure that basic local services including roads, fire protection, and emergency medical services are protected. The Senate Finance bill also ensures that tobacco settlement funds are used to cover the costs of smoking and tobacco cessation efforts.

Parnell said additional proposed reductions would require changing state law this year. These measures are part of the Senate Republican Majority's commitment to streamline government through elimination, transfers, and consolidation of state departments, programs and services. In the Senate, these bills include:

  • SB 152 : Results in cost savings from changing the wage and benefit package for exempt state employees.
  • SB 116 : Consolidates state agencies.
  • SB 128 : Combines Contaminated Sites Program with Storage Tank Program for operating efficiencies.
  • SB 40 : Changes the eligibility of the state's Longevity Bonus Program, basing eligibility on income levels and not just age.

"Daily, I receive letters and calls from Alaskans who demand that budget cuts be the first step in any long range fiscal plan. Reductions and structural changes are essential in light of our state's fiscal reality. The public simply will not be satisfied if we increase state spending." Parnell said.

"We remain committed to a leaner, more accountable government," said Senator John Torgerson (R-Kasilof). "Every dollar we cut now, is one less dollar we have to make up in new revenue sources as we develop a plan to close the state's billion dollar fiscal gap."

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Broadcasters note: Audio comments are available on the Majority Actuality line, 1-800-478-6540
= Sean Parnell, 51 K

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