Legislature(2001 - 2002)

2002-01-18 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

2002-01-18                     Senate Journal                      Page 1978
SB 245                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 245 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                                                   
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                                               
          "An Act making appropriations for the operating and                                       
          loan program expenses of state government, for                                            
          certain programs, and to capitalize funds; making                                         
          appropriations under art. IX, sec. 17(c), Constitution                                    
          of the State of Alaska, from the constitutional budget                                    
          reserve fund; and providing for an effective date."                                       
was read the first time and referred to the Finance Committee.                                      
Governor's transmittal letter dated January 16:                                                     
Dear President Halford:                                                                             
The Fiscal Year 2003 operating budget I am transmitting today                                       
addresses three key goals:                                                                          

2002-01-18                     Senate Journal                      Page 1979
     · It continues our investments for Alaska's children in                                        
          education and provides for their health and safety;                                       
     · It maintains the existing level of vital public services                                     
          Alaskans count on;                                                                        
     · It encourages responsible resource development to help create                                
          and protect jobs for Alaska families.                                                     
Together with the capital budget and my legislative proposals for K-12                              
education and veterans, this budget is a $180 million general fund                                  
increase over the current fiscal year. Some $81 million of this increase                            
is a direct result of actions you have taken in approving laws, budgets,                            
contracts and replacing lost federal and other funding sources. It                                  
includes debt for approved new schools. Operating new facilities, from                              
the Ketchikan youth home to the Anchorage jail. Obligations you                                     
approved for pupil transportation and state worker contracts. Medical                               
care required by law for more seniors and Alaskans with disabilities.                               
And holding constitutionally required elections this fall. The                                      
remaining amount is for fuel and utility price increases and heavier                                
workloads, such as more state prisoners, or backlogs in permitting and                              
safety inspections.                                                                                 
I am indeed proposing some additional investments next year ¾  to                                   
improve educational opportunities for our children in K-12 and the                                  
university, to keep our children safe in their homes, and to free them                              
from the dangers of tobacco, alcohol abuse, inhalants and suicide. On                               
these investments, I recognize there is a fundamental difference of                                 
opinion between some legislators and the many Alaskans who, like                                    
me, believe this is a top priority. So I welcome a healthy, open, honest                            
debate on two different visions of what our Alaska can be.                                          
There can be an Alaska where our children can learn to the best of                                  
their abilities, provide for their families, be good citizens.  An Alaska                           
that has saved hundreds of millions of dollars in fewer prisons, less                               
welfare, lower health costs and fewer broken lives. I want to realize                               
tomorrow's returns by making wise investments today.                                                

2002-01-18                     Senate Journal                      Page 1980
Each year my budget proposals in education and Smart Start have                                     
been declared dead on arrival by the Legislative majority. Yet thanks                               
to the vision and grassroots advocacy of thousands of Alaskans and                                  
eventually bipartisan support in the Legislature, good ideas have                                   
prevailed. Rather than tying the commitment for our kids to the price                               
of oil, I believe Alaskans will always put children first.                                          
It is worth noting that under my proposed investments, Alaska would                                 
spend $1,100 less per person in today's general fund dollars than in                                
Fiscal 1979 ¾  the year before the pipeline boom began. Budgets have                                
been cut in five of the past six years.                                                             
I urge you to consider the future impacts of making similar                                         
investments again this year ¾ better schools, an even more vibrant                                  
university, fewer children abused or in foster care, fewer youth in                                 
detention and young adults in prison, Alaskans filling the best jobs in                             
the economy of the future. These opportunities for tomorrow are well                                
worth the investments we must make today.                                                           
I stand ready to work with you to develop a responsible FY2003                                      
budget for Alaskans.                                                                                
Tony Knowles