NEWS: Coalition Appreciates Governor Walker’s Commitment to Responsible Budgeting
Coalition will work to craft a sustainable budget that adequately funds essential state services and fully funds public education
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2017
Anchorage – Earlier today, Alaska Governor Bill Walker released a budget proposal for fiscal year 2019. The members of the Alaska House Majority Coalition believe the Governor’s budget proposal aligns with Coalition priorities because it fully funds public education and responds to the uptick in crime by providing additional funding for some of the state agencies that deal with public safety in Alaska.
The Governor’s budget proposal will be used as the starting point for the budget deliberations of the House Finance Committee, under the direction of Co-Chair Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer).
“We face some difficult decisions in the coming months to protect the jobs of thousands of Alaskans, ensure we get out of this lingering recession, and put Alaska back on firm fiscal ground. I am especially pleased to see that the Governor is proposing to fully fund public education. As Alaskans we must resist the urge to slash and burn our decades-long investment in great schools and excellent teachers to fill a budget gap caused by low oil prices and legislative inaction,” said House Finance Committee Co-Chair Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer).
Rep. Seaton is in charge of guiding the proposed FY 2019 operating budget through the legislative process in the Alaska House of Representatives. The other Finance Committee Co-Chair, Rep. Neal Foster (D-Nome), will lead the proposed FY 2019 capital budget through the process. The Governor’s proposed FY 2019 capital budget is a very modest $150 million that will cover the state’s match for anticipated federal funding for roads and water and sewer projects.
“The bare bones capital budget put out by the Governor is what I had anticipated. There simply is not sufficient revenue to address our state’s infrastructure needs. That said, we also cannot risk the damage to our economy by foregoing matching funds from the federal government. The details of the capital budget and his economic stimulus plan will require due consideration and I am committed to working with our members and Senate counterparts on these proposals,” said Rep. Foster.
Earlier this week the administration of Governor Walker released the Fall 2017 Revenue Sources Book, which estimates that unrestricted General Fund revenues will total $2.1 billion this fiscal year and $2 billion in FY 2019. The revenue forecast is based on a projected oil price of $56 per barrel this year and $57 per barrel in FY 2019.
In addition to his budget proposals, Governor Walker today confirmed that he would be introducing legislation to put in place a limited payroll tax of 1.5 percent. The Governor’s vision is for the tax to sunset after three years and be limited to paying for deferred maintenance projects. The Alaska House Majority Coalition will be reviewing this proposal when the Second Session of the 30th Alaska State Legislature gets underway on January 16th.
For more information, please contact House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.