FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2015
JUNEAU – Alaska Governor Bill Walker presented his first State of the Budget address Thursday night. Governor Walker outlined both short and long-term plans to deal with a daunting fiscal crisis brought on by declining oil production and prices. The House Minority, made up of Democrats and an Independent, appreciates the care Governor Walker took in suggesting ideas for the Alaska Legislature to consider in the coming months.
“It’s about time we received a thoughtful and reasoned approach from a governor,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage). “Our problems were created over the last several years. Thanks to Democrats, independents, and the majority of Alaskans, we now have a chief executive willing to bite the bullet and make difficult decisions.”
In his speech, Governor Walker put forward a proposed budget that features a significant reduction in General Fund spending and a 2.5% cut in public education funding.
“Our current fiscal situation requires that the Legislature get serious and work in partnership with the Walker-Mallott Administration to protect the interest of Alaska,” said House Finance Committee member Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks). “Let’s cut the waste, create efficiencies, and combine services.”
“We need to fix our budget, with a scalpel, not a bludgeon, so we protect our economy, jobs and the next generations right to real opportunity and a quality education,” said House Finance Committee member Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage). “That means working hard to cut low priority projects like the money-losing state rocket business and a $6 billion Susitna Dam that would serve the same people as we want to serve with our main priority project – a large diameter natural gas pipeline.”
The 13 members of the House Minority look forward to working with the Walker-Mallott Administration and call on all Alaskans to participate in the Legislative process to help create budgets that protect our core values of job security, accessible healthcare, safe communities, and good schools.