New Education Spending Says Governor
May 04, 2004
"Because this is not a one-time appropriation, responsibility dictates that we have a source of funding identified if we are going to add $90 million to the K-12 and university budgets,"
"With projected deficits of $570 million and $875 million for FY2006 and FY2007, it is only reasonable to ask, where does the additional $90 million come from? At present, it is an unfunded mandate. It is simply irresponsible of the Legislature to authorize the spending without identifying how to keep paying for it. It is also irresponsible to simply look to our savings account - the depleting constitutional budget reserve - to continue to bail us out.
"I would encourage the Legislature to devote more energy toward a long-term solution. I am working on that with the Legislature and interested Alaskans, so we can have sustained funding for education and other public services, and not got through this charade each and every year. Alaska's educators and others in the education establishment should work with their legislators over the next 10 days to enact a solution this session.
"The fiscal problem has
been the dominant issue in the Legislature for the past 14 years.
It is not a Democrat or Republican issue or solution. It is an
obligation of all Alaskans, not a partisan issue. And it is not
a question of education being a pawn in a dispute between the
Legislature and the Governor's office. It is a question of how
to increase education funding in a way that provides long-term,
stable funding for the state's budget, so that school districts
can plan their budgets with some expectation of having adequate
funding, not just in 2005 or 2006, but on into the future."
Source of News Release: