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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 Passes Operating Budget
Focus on Education, Children's Services, Public Safety

For Immediate Release: April 21, 1999
Contact: Senator Sean Parnell at (907) 465-2995 or
Senator John Torgerson at (907) 465-2828

Juneau -- The Senate Wednesday approved a $2.1 billion general fund operating budget for Fiscal Year 2000, which reduces general fund spending by $92 million. With this one bill, the Republican-led Majority progressed toward its goal of trimming $300 million overall from the FY-00 budget.

"With a billion dollar fiscal gap, the contrasting visions between the Republican Majority and the Democratic leadership were clear," said Senator Sean Parnell (R-Anchorage) Co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. "The Democratic Leadership's has a bankrupt vision for Alaska. They want to spend more. Our vision is to spend less."

"We passed a budget that significantly reduces state spending, especially in state agencies," said Parnell. "We cut the budget while fully funding education, restoring municipal revenue sharing, and increasing spending for the University."

"People demand cuts in this budget, but even amidst our responsibility to spend less, we are keeping our sights on our priorities," said Parnell. He listed the following examples from the Senate's budget:

  • Fully funded the foundation formula for kindergarten through 12th grade
  • The University received "a healthy increase" this year
  • Daycare Assistance is increased by $1.7 million over the current fiscal year
  • Increased funding for Foster Care and adoptions
  • Fully funded Project Succeed to encourage Alaskans to open their homes to children who need a permanent home
  • Funded 55 new nurse and nurse-aide positions at the six Pioneers' Homes

"We made sure the tobacco settlement funds go directly to offset the costs of smoking. About $1.4 million of that settlement-a seven fold increase over the state's current prevention efforts-will be directed to tobacco cessation and prevention programs," said Parnell.

"We made a commitment to a leaner, more accountable state government," said Senator John Torgerson (R-Kasilof) Co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. "We've restructured some state programs, and we've eliminated a lot of 'extras' that simply are not necessary. The days of big oil bucks are gone, and this budget reflects that fact. But it does it in a reasonable manner."

"The operating budget that the Senate passed today is the first piece of a much larger puzzle. When we're finished the budget will include at least $40 million in sustainable budget cuts, and a total of $300 million in reduced spending from last year's levels," said Senate President Senator Drue Pearce.

"Along with that, we remain committed to having a long-range plan that deals with the more than $1 billion annual fiscal gap. We believe we have to make these cuts. We have to make people understand how serious this fiscal situation is. And we will move forward to finding that solution to the gap," said Pearce.

# # #

Broadcasters note: Audio comments are available on the Majority Actuality line, 1-800-478-6540
= Sean Parnell, 31 K = Drue Pearce, 46 K

Editor's Note: A list of major appropriations and budget summary are attached.

To view the appropriations file you must have Adobe's Acrobat Reader plug-in installed. You can navigate to their download and installation instruction pages by clicking on the "Get Acrobat Reader" icon.

| Top | Senator Parnell's Page | Senator Torgerson's Page |

FY00 Senate Operating Budget in Review

Please note: Departments are listed in alphabetical order.

Leaner Government

  • $8.4 million reduction to state personnel costs
  • 10% travel reduction
  • Other targeted reductions to state agencies

Department of Administration

  • Funded 55 new nurse and nurse-aide positions for the six Pioneers' Homes from receipts paid by pioneer home residents.
  • Funded public TV at a level sufficient to maintain current federal support without affecting other state operations.
  • Increased funding for the vision-impaired through the Alaska Information Radio Reading Education Services (AIRRES) "Reading Radio" budget.

Department of Commerce and Economic Development

  • Office of Tourism and Alaska Tourism Marketing Council will be included in legislation that reflects a $300,000 decrease in spending. This $300,000 savings is brought about by efficiencies from consolidation of the state's marketing efforts.
  • Fully funded Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and Alaska Science and Technology Foundation.
  • Fully funded World Trade Center, Northern Forum, and ARDORS grants.

Department of Community and Regional Affairs

  • Funded $32 million in state municipal assistance and revenue sharing to ensure that basic local services are protected; including roads, fire protection, and emergency medical services.
  • Funded the Rural Utility Business Advisory (RUBA) program for rural sanitation.
  • Increased Day Care Assistance Program funding by $1.7 million over FY 99.
  • Allocated nearly one million dollars ($950,000) for the Child Care Enrichment Fund. This will provide tools for the state to increase the number of licensed childcare providers and to provide a system of tiered licensing, or career development guidelines for providers who wish to work toward increased competency in early childhood services.
  • Increased Head Start funding above the FY 99 level.

Department of Corrections

  • Provided direct funding for correctional institution deferred maintenance.
  • Created New Food Services Apprenticeship Program.

Alaska Court Systems

  • Funded the Courtwatch program, the only citizen-based judicial watchdog group.

Department of Education

  • Fully funded K-12 foundation formula.
  • Funded the request for additional money to continue, expand, and complete work on the High School Graduation Qualifying Exam and Student Assessment.
  • Funded the request for additional money to audit the exact costs incurred by school districts.
  • Adult Basic Education is funded at the requested level with no reductions.

Department of Environmental Conservation

  • No staff positions were added.
  • Funded Local Emergency Planning Committees to strengthen fuel spill planning and readiness at the local level.
  • Provided $1.7 million for non-point source pollution grants. This will provide more science relating to protecting salmon habitat and the condition of Alaska water bodies.

Department of Fish and Game

  • Commercial Fisheries -- Increased the FY 00 Test Fisheries budget by $2,647,500. After the department reduced its FY 99 general fund spending in the Commercial Fisheries Division by over $400,000, the subcommittee extended that austerity measure into FY 00. Gave the department authority to use federal funds and Fish and Game Funds to replace additional reductions in Headquarters Fisheries Management. A proposed fee increase in commercial fishing crew licenses is expected to provide the necessary funding from the Fish & Game Fund.
  • Subsistence -- Adopted a transfer from the Legal Defense budget unit into the Field Office component, increasing the budget by $44,400. After numerous discussions about the potential transfer of management of navigable waters to the federal government, the subcommittee elected to maintain the subsistence division with the expectation that the department will collaborate with appropriate entities to provide necessary subsistence information in a cost effective manner.
  • Sport Fish -- Approved a $530,000 net increase to the division with no change in the general fund spending level.

Department of Health and Social Services

  • Fully funded all Public Assistance components.
  • Fully funded Adult Public Assistance, a state-funded program that provides cash assistance to needy, aged, blind and disabled persons.
  • Fully funded Chronic Acute Medical Assistance (CAMA) providing medical assistance to Alaska's most poor.
  • Fully funded Denali Kid Care providing increased health coverage for children and pregnant women.
  • Increased funding for foster care and adoptions.
  • Fully funded Project Succeed, an effort to find permanent homes for children in state custody.
  • Full funding to annualize the cost of the 28 social workers added in the FY '99 budget. This helps reduce child abuse and neglect. The component for Front Line Social Workers received $1,496.5 over the FY '99 budget.
  • Developmental Disability Institutional Prevention was funded at $1,009.8 over the FY '99 budget. The funds will be used to target recruitment, training and retention of highly qualified staff.
  • Fully funded Human Service Community Matching Grants at $387.7 over the FY '99 budget amount.

Department of Law

  • Added a new prosecuting attorney and a new paraprofessional to support the ongoing Smartstart Program -- The Third Judicial Anchorage Office received an increase of $240,700 in additional funding.
  • The Fair Business Practices Division received $180,000 in additional funding to increase consumer protection enforcement efforts.
  • The Human Services Division received an increase of $405,500 in additional funding over FY'99 authorized funding. This increase funds two new attorneys to support the ongoing Smartstart program and to annualize Smartstart positions hired in a staggered fashion during the last fiscal year.

FY 00 Legislature's Operating Budget

  • The Senate Finance committee reduced the Legislature's FY 00 budget by $379,200 in general fund spending.

Department of Military and Veteran Affairs

  • The Senate Finance Committee proposed a $186,000 reduction to the Commissioner's office. This reduction will be spread throughout the Department.

Department of Natural Resources

  • The Administration, Data Management, and Mental Health Trust divisions were funded at last years level. Both were denied position and dollar increases.
  • Fully funded the Parks and Recreation, Mining, Geology, and the Citizens Advisory Commission on Federal Areas.
  • The Division of Lands received a 13% reduction (-$1,008,000) in the planning and permitting sections. The Division of Agriculture proposed eliminating a $75,000 transfer of funds to another agency, and this was accepted.
  • The Division of Oil and Gas received a $100,000 unallocated reduction. The Division of Water received a $125,000 reduction to the water adjudication section. The reductions to Oil & Gas and to Water were approximately one-fourth and one-half of the reductions suggested by the department for these divisions.

Department of Public Safety

  • The Violent Crimes Compensation Board received an increase of $185,000 in additional funding over FY'99 authorized spending. This increase will help compensate innocent crime victims for the financial and emotional damage caused by violent crime.
  • The Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault received an increase of $465,200 in additional funding over FY'99 authorized funding. CDVSA received authorization to receive a federal grant totaling $562,800. The subcommittee allocated $465,200 of this grant to the CDVSA and $96,700 to Laboratory Services to fund one DNA criminalist.
  • Victims for Justice, a non-profit victims advocacy group, received an increase of $100,000 in additional funding over FY'99 authorized spending.

Department of Revenue

  • Fully funded the Child Support Enforcement Division and allowed the Division to have first use of child support collections.
  • Consolidates the Oil and Gas Audit Division with the Income and Excise Audit Division. This results in savings to the Department without sacrificing service to the public.
  • Funded a welfare-to-work position in the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority.

Department of Transportation and Public Facilities

  • Senate Finance adopted a DOT budget that increased total spending from the current year budget by over $2.2 million. General fund reductions were partially offset by making appropriations from other funding sources. For example, general funds were replaced by $700,000 from the Oil/Hazardous substance prevention fund for the storm drain monitoring program in Anchorage.
  • $500,000 in new federal funds will be used to operate and maintain Adak's Mitchell airfield, and $232,000 in new Statutory Designated Program Receipts (third party contract receipts) was appropriated for airline late night callouts.
  • An authorization of $150,000 in Statutory Designated Program Receipts was made to allow private entities to contract with the department to open roads early.
  • An increase in Statewide Planning provides funding to implement the new Southeast Alaska Transportation Plan and federal funds for statewide programs.
  • Senate Finance established a separate accounting system that sets up the Malaspina as a self-sufficient model for a day-boat operation in the Northern Lynn Canal. The economic viability of the day-boat concept is proven by its self-sufficiency.

University of Alaska

  • University's total budget increased nearly $25.7 million including an $18 million increase in federal receipts.
  • Legislative intent language is included encouraging the University to continue its plan for achieving administrative cost savings.