May 25, 2005
Governor Murkowski said, "A few pundits and editorial writers said I had placed too much on the Legislature's plate, that it couldn't get done what I'd asked it to do. Some said that we shouldn't, or couldn't, fix tough problems like workers' compensation and PERS/TRS. I knew we could, and we did."
Murkowski said the record stands for itself. About Workers' Compensation Murkowski said, "Our small businesses and their employees know that we recognized their plight and responded. We fought to obtain workers' compensation reform legislation over two regular sessions and two special sessions. We now have a framework in place to address the rising cost of workers' compensation rates. The Legislature listened to their needs and responded."
Regarding the retirement programs of PERS/TRS, Murkowski said, "Alaskans today know that we've taken a major step toward addressing the $5.7 billion pension shortfall in our public employees and teachers retirement system. We stopped the bleeding. We've protected the promises made to our current employees and retirees to maintain the existing plan and crafted an attractive plan for future employees. California and other states have tried to do this and failed."
"The University of Alaska knows that we're fulfilling the promise made to it as a land grant university - providing it with a land base to help it generate revenue and support its education mission," said Murkowksi.
Addressing the Capital Budget Murkowski said, "We've worked long and hard on a capital budget that meets Alaska's needs today, and prepares us for future growth. It includes funding for our transportation initiative that will relieve congestion in our population centers. It also funds our "Roads to Resources" program that advances our agenda to develop Alaska's resources. Most significant is the commitment to school construction and addressing maintenance needs in schools throughout the state by funding the entire backlog of projects."
In the area of Education Funding the Governor said, "Our students, teachers, and parents at the end of this special session will know that we listened to their needs and responded, with growth in education funding not seen in this state in decades. This administration has increased funding for education by 29 percent since it took office."
In orther areas Murkowski said, "We've finally modernized our elections statutes, we've funded a needed new virology laboratory, and we've made needed changes to our laws governing insurance regulations.
Murkowski said, "Each of these items individually would have been noteworthy. Together they reflect a record in which the public and the Legislature should take pride."
He said, "I am proud
to have called this special session, and to have been a part
of the process. However tumultuous the Legislature may have seemed
during the special session, the results for Alaska are historic
and important reform. This was democracy at work, not always
pretty, but necessary to get Alaska the legislation it needed
to advance into this new century."
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