Legislature(2001 - 2002)
2001-07-20 House JournalFull Journal pdf
2001-07-20 House Journal Page 1891 HB 103 The following letter, dated June 30, 2001, was received: "Dear Speaker Porter: On this date I have signed the following bill passed by the first session of the Twenty-second Alaska State Legislature and am transmitting the engrossed and enrolled copies to the Lieutenant Governor's office for permanent filing: CONFERENCE CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 103 "An Act making appropriations for the operating and loan program expenses of state government, for certain programs, and to capitalize funds; and providing for an effective date." Chapter No. 60, SLA 2001 [Effective Date: July 1, 2001] Taking all funds into account, the state budget for next year is $7.4 billion. Permanent Fund dividends and inflation proofing account for $1.8 billion of the total, and $2.1 billion in capital projects and operating programs will be paid from federal funds. The general fund portion is $2.4 billion. Much of this $117 million increase over FY2001was necessary to pay debt service and replace one-time funds 2001-07-20 House Journal Page 1892 used in the current budget. Yet even with these costs and some additional investments in key services, the per person general fund cost of government is almost $1200 less in today's dollars than it was in 1979, the last pre-oil boom year. When I presented my FY2002 "Jobs and Families Budget" budget last December, I highlighted three basic goals we share for the continued good health of our families and our state's economy: · maintaining the level of vital public services; · making additional strategic investments in education, early childhood development, public health and public safety; and · restoring an appropriate level of services to business and industry so the state can be an active supporter of economic development. The final operating budget for FY2002 helps fulfill these commitments to protect Alaska's children, improve schools and keep Alaskans working. Next year, I hope we will continue progress in these critical areas for Alaska's future. I have made no changes to the dollar amounts in the operating budget bill passed by the Legislature. I would note that the Supreme Court's recent decision in Alaska Legislative Council v. Knowles, 21 P.3d 367 (Alaska 2001), does not permit vetoes of intent or other language even if that language is unconstitutional. However, I remain obligated to follow the laws as enacted properly by the legislature and interpreted by the state courts. As a result, two legislative additions to the bill require comment even though I am not permitted to veto the language. There is a major constitutional issue relating to the language with which the legislature attempts to limit expenditures for abortions. The executive branch is already under court order in State of Alaska, Dept. of Health & Social Services v. Planned Parenthood of Alaska to operate the Medicaid program in a constitutional manner by paying for therapeutic or medically necessary abortions. Planned Parenthood has already filed a request that the court clarify that the constitutional protections extend to the FY2002 budget despite the language added by the legislature in an effort to avoid such payment. I will abide by the decision of the court as to whether these abortions must be paid for in FY2002. 2001-07-20 House Journal Page 1893 The other issue relates to language inserted at Conference Committee which says that funds appropriated may not be used to pay personal services costs due to reclassification of job classes during next fiscal year unless those reclassifications were specifically budgeted. Job classification - the process of determining which jobs are grouped together based on duties, responsibilities and other factors - is an integral part of the responsibility assigned by AS 39.25.150 to the division of personnel. The executive branch must fulfill this responsibility in a manner consistent with the constitutionally established merit principle. An attempt to prohibit implementation of changes in job classification in this manner is not consistent with the constitutional merit principle or the limitation on combining substantive law with appropriations bills. In addition to the legal difficulties with the bill's approach, there are practical problems as well. The state's ability to recruit and retain essential employees in the current job market depends on a classification system that can appropriately adjust to external factors beyond our control such as changes in technology, professional licensing requirements, federal program requirements, and the nature of the work. The timing of our need to make these adjustments does not always conveniently track the budget cycle. Waiting several months for a supplemental or the next year's budget appropriation could significantly impair the ability of our agencies to deliver essential services to the public. Sincerely, /s/ Tony Knowles Governor"