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Governor Disappointed in Senate Minority Vote
Turning Down Constitutional Spending Limit


April 8, 2004

Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski said Wednesday he was deeply disappointed in the refusal of every member of the Senate Democrat minority to vote in favor of a constitutional spending limit. Without any votes from the Democrat minority, the resolution proposing the constitutional amendment (SJR 3) failed to get the required 2/3 majority of 14, and failed by a vote of 12-7, with one Democrat member absent.

"This was the first piece of a fiscal plan, and the crucial piece that would assure the public that there would be a realistic constraint on state spending," Murkowski said. "The arguments of the Democrat minority are simply unrealistic."

"The Senate Democrats voted 'no' on the basis that education was not exempt from the spending limit. However, this fails to recognize that the proposed spending limit included an adjustment for population increase, which would also be reflected in the foundation formula. It also fails to reflect yesterday's election results on the education bond issue in Anchorage, in which voters made clear that education spending, including spending on administrative facilities, needs closer public scrutiny," Murkowski said.

"We recognize that an increased level of spending may be required to meet the needs of Alaska's citizens," Murkowski said. "However, Alaskans must be reassured that the state is only spending what is absolutely necessary."

The Governor said, "The spending limit that was put into the Constitution in 1984 is completely out-of-date, and in fact, has never had any impact on state spending. It was written at a time when Alaska was swimming in a sea of petrodollars, and it envisioned limiting spending at a rate much higher than we ever reached. It needs to be replaced with a realistic spending limit, which I believe Senator Dyson crafted."

"As Senator Dyson has pointed out, the 31 states that have adopted spending limits have enjoyed an inordinate difference in economic growth. This is because investors in a state's economy appreciate stable, predictable, and limited growth in government spending," said Murkowski.

In conclusion Governor Murkowski said, "We remain optimistic that the Legislature will take positive action on the recommendations of the Conference of Alaskans regarding use of the income of the Permanent Fund to support essential government services. The constitutional spending limit embodied within SJR 3 is a key component of that package of legislation. I look forward to a second vote on its passage in the Senate, with a positive result. I hope at least two Democrats will reconsider their position and change their votes on this crucial legislation, so we can fulfill our obligation to achieve a resolution of the state's financial crisis."




Source of News Release:

Office of the Governor
Web Site



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