Calls for spending some of FY05 windfall on education,
roads to jobs, other programs
December 16, 2004
"My vision for Alaska is that by developing our resources and providing good jobs for Alaskans, we can raise the quality of life for all of our citizens," Murkowski said. "These are the values reflected within the pages of this budget."
The spending package includes a K-12 education proposal that provides two years of increased funding for schools at a cost of $127 million. The education proposal also makes permanent an $82 million increase approved by the Legislature in the 2003 session and provides for a record 23 percent increase in overall K-12 spending.
In addition to schools, the budget provides for a $145 million roads package that supports resource development statewide and makes significant transportation improvements for many Alaskans.
Murkowski proposes a $31 million increase over two years for the University of Alaska, providing necessary energy assistance to small communities and providing $27.1 million for gas pipeline work in the next fiscal year. The governor's spending plan also proposes extending and expanding the current SeniorCare program.
The FY 2006 budget will be buoyed by a portion of the $650 million temporary windfall that the state Department of Revenue is forecasting for this fiscal year. The governor proposes spending $352 million on essential needs in FY05-07 and saving the rest of it to offset future deficits.
"Because a budget reflects values, I am proposing to the Legislature that we use some of the windfall to not only balance next year's budget but to advance some of the goals on which this administration was elected into office," said the governor.
This current year windfall stands in contrast to a $363 million CBR draw anticipated at the end of the last legislative session, Murkowski said. Such a dramatic change in state revenues underscores the need for legislative action on a fiscal plan, the governor noted.
"With economic factors pointing toward decreasing revenue from oil over the next decade, I've crafted a budget that helps fix current problems while investing in future projects that will lead to Alaska jobs," Murkowski said.
Other highlights of the FY06 budget include a resource development package that continues an aggressive "roads to resources" agenda with advance work on the Bullen Point Road and the Dalton Highway.
It also builds upon the governor's safe communities and families agenda by adding nine new troopers, three crime lab technicians, providing $1 million for additional social workers and training and addressing essential deferred maintenance.
The administration plans to use revenues from the Amerada Hess royalty oil dispute to fund a $340 million bond package that funds a community road package that includes road upgrades and construction for Anchorage, Fairbanks and other areas of the state.
The budget includes $11 million to improve road access for tourism: $4 million for the Copper River Highway, $2 million for the McCarthy Road, and $5 million for the Stampede Trail. The Alaska Marine Highway System will receive increased funding to offset fuel costs and to keep vessels in service. Nearly $94 million is set aside for village safe water and other municipal water and sewer programs.
Governor Murkowski outlined highlights of his FY06 budget proposal during a speech in Anchorage to Commonwealth North.
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