Governor Releases FY 2013 Budget
The state constitution requires the governor to release his proposed budget by a certain date each year, and Governor Parnell put it online Thursday and talked about the specifics of the largely status quo proposal in a speech to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce.
The governor says it’s fair to describe his proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2013 as maintaining the current level of service provided by state government. But he’s proposing $600 million less in public works projects, at least for now, in order to pre-empt a bloated capital budget by the conclusion of the legislative session in April.
Governor Parnell says the state will soon have $3.7 billion in surplus, not counting billions more in various savings accounts. But he says that’s no reason to ratchet up spending.
He wants to add money for rural law enforcement and statewide emergency preparedness, and there’s no choice about formula-driven increases in Medicaid, education and payments on unfounded state liabilities.
So with oil production still on the decline, as 90 percent of state general fund revenue, Parnell says frugality is a must. “It’s important that we not spend it all today,” Parnell said. “As Alaskans, you all know that during the summertime we put salmon and the fall moose meat in our freezer and we save it for winter. That’s what we’re doing with our budget surplus, by saving it for leaner times.”
The governor is proposing a general obligation bond package for ports and harbors that would go to voters in the November 2012 general election. Included is $200 million for the Port of Anchorage expansion.
Parnell says state savings accounts are earning more on investments than it would cost to finance a bond sale, making borrowing money a better deal for the state.