Which state Senator said yesterday about this year’s state budget, “we have actually done a very good job managing Alaska’s spending. … We got it right.” Senator French? Senator Wielechowski? Nope, guess again.
The answer is Senator Lesil McGuire during yesterday’s Alaska Live with Bernadette. Why is that conclusion wrong? Read almost any commentary on this page in the last three months. For starters, read the commentary that follows this.
[The entire interview with Senator McGuire is available here. The portion dealing with the budget begins at minute 48:05. A transcript of the relevant portions follows. In reading the following, it is important to understand that the Capital Budget is managed by the Senate Finance Committee, of which Senator McGuire is a member; the Operating Budget is managed by the House. Bernadette is asking about the Capital Budget.]
Bernadette: Let me ask you, with the budget. Would you agree, I mean there were comments that came out, obviously from Representative Bill Stoltze is the one that sticks out in my mind from the House side, saying he had noted on the Capital Budget, saying this is out of control, its not sustainable, we can’t continue to spend like this on a yearly basis. Would you, what are your thoughts with the budget? Is it out of control? … Looking at the Capital Budget, would you say that it, spending has gotten out of control?
Sen. McGuire: … I think we have actually done a very good job managing Alaska’s spending. That said, I think we always have to be mindful of our spending and in particular with the Operating Budget. That’s the place where we …
Bernadette: So, looking at the Capital Budget, though, spending too high this year, right about where it should be?
Sen. McGuire: I think we got it right. We worked with the Governor, we stayed exactly where the Governor’s spending target was. I was pleased with how that finally worked. I would say two years ago, the House and the Senate were still fighting him on that, not getting the message and he had to make arbitrary cuts to meet those goals. This year, we all finally agreed on a spending target and it worked.
Fact check: The Governor’s original proposed spend from the undedicated General Fund for the FY 2013 Capital Budget was $882 million, later amended to $893 million. The final spending level from the undedicated General Fund for the FY 2013 Capital Budget that passed the Legislature was $1.926 billion.