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Governor Signs Fast Track Supplemental
Approves Education spending, vetoes non-traditional sources of funding


April 08, 2005

Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski on Thursday signed into law Senate Bill 98, the "fast track" supplemental bill for fiscal 2005, providing for necessary or unexpected costs to state government and early funding for Alaska schools.

The "fast track" supplemental bill makes available $854 million for K-12 education for fiscal year 2006, which is associated with foundation formula legislation pending in the Legislature.

"I am pleased the Legislature followed my lead in providing Alaska schools with adequate and early funding to provide our children with the best education possible," said Murkowski. "This bill is a reflection of both pressing needs and our highest priorities and I hope will set the stage for a very successful conclusion to this session."

The "fast track" supplemental also provides $7 million in general fund spending for disaster relief funding, $6 million for infrastructure upgrades to the Alaska Land Mobile Radio project, $36 million for Medicaid costs and $6.45 million in small city energy assistance.

Governor Murkowski vetoed from the legislation $24 million in funding for natural gas pipeline negotiations and analysis and ANWR advocacy, including $7 million in proposed spending from the earnings reserve account. Much of this funding would have been appropriated to the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee, which would have controlled the release of the funds.

"After careful consideration, I exercised my line-item veto power for two important reasons," Murkowski said. "The separation of powers doctrine within our state constitution is clear. My responsibility to carry out gas pipeline negotiations must also include authority over the necessary funding. This method of appropriation is also contrary to the intent of the Stranded Gas Act."

In addition to the separation of powers issue, the Legislature proposed spending from the earnings reserve account rather than the general fund.

"I will submit another request to the Legislature that satisfies the demands of our gasline and ANWR work using traditional funding," Murkowski said. He also urged the Legislature to use these guiding principles in crafting a capital budget as well.

"We can afford this year to pass a responsible capital budget that recognizes the opportunity we have to build the infrastructure today to sustain our growth tomorrow," Murkowski said. "My proposal does not draw down the earnings reserve nor does it require approval by Alaskans of an expenditure from the earnings reserve."

SB 98 has an immediate effective date.


On the Web:

Senate Bill 98

Source of News:

Office of the Governor
Web Site

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Ketchikan, Alaska