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Portrait of Senate Finance 
		Co-Chair, 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 Passes FY 01 Operating Budget
Prioritizes Children, Education, Public Safety, Roads

For Immediate Release: March 31, 2000
Contact: Senator Sean Parnell at (907) 269-0250
Senator John Torgerson at (907) 283-2690.

Juneau -- The Senate Finance Committee passed the Fiscal Year 2001 operating budget bill Friday, addressing Alaskans' priorities of children, education public safety and transportation.

"This budget provides for the state services that Alaskans have clearly said they value the most," said Senate Finance Committee Co-Chair Senator Sean Parnell (R-Anchorage). "Alaskans care about healthy children, good schools and universities, safe communities and decent roads, and we increased funds to these areas. In many cases, we passed these extra funds straight to citizens and local governments."

The Senate Finance Committee budget calls for Alaska to spend a total of $2.18 billion from the General Fund in FY01 for state operations, approximately $104.3 million less than the governor's spending proposal requested. Permanent Fund dividend spending is approximately $41 million higher in the bill, while state agency General Fund spending was reduced by $35 million.

"Alaskans expect and deserve a common-sense approach to state budgeting," said Senate Finance Committee Co-Chair Senator John Torgerson (R-Kasilof). "When we don't have the revenue to meet all our needs, we have to make choices. We achieved reductions in the budget subcommittees process and in the full committee, with the advice and input from departments and constituents across the state."

The Senate Finance budget bill prioritizes funding in these critical areas:

  • Education: Fulfills the state's mission to educate young Alaskans by fully funding K-12 schools at $669.3 million, and adding $5.8 million in Learning Opportunity Grants to help prepare students to pass the state graduation exit exam.
  • University of Alaska: Boosts state University support by $8.6 million to improve classroom instruction, bringing state support of higher education to $181 million.
  • Foster Care and Subsidized Adoptions: Adds $5.2 million in training and financial assistance for Alaskans opening their homes to foster children. Also helps children find permanent homes, with adoption subsidy increases of $2.3 million to a total of $12.2 million.
  • Child Care: Raises allocation by $5.1 million to make $5.8 million available to families needing child care assistance. Increases funding for child care grants, day care assistance, and day care center licensing, resulting in shorter waitlists and reduced state caseloads as Alaskans move from welfare to work.
  • Criminal Justice: Strengthens Alaska's scales of justice by devoting additional resources to prosecutors, as well as to public defenders.
  • Public Safety: Adds state troopers, and funds the Village Public Safety Officer program and fish and wildlife protection services, which predominately serve rural Alaska.
  • Juvenile Corrections: Adds $2.6 million for juvenile detention centers, including new facilities in Palmer and Ketchikan, and expansion of Anchorage and Bethel facilities.
  • Transportation: Reopens highway maintenance stations across Alaska to keep state roads plowed and maintained.

The Senate Finance Committee's budget bill now advances to the Senate floor, where a vote is expected next week.

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Attachment(s):

Broadcasters note: Audio comments are available on the Majority Actuality line, 1-800-478-6540
= John Torgerson, 38 K = Sean Parnell, 37 K

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