As this year’s regular legislative session enters its last few days, the outlines of the final FY 2015 budget are becoming clearer, and its not good for those concerned about Alaska’s future.
To bring readers current, the Governor started the bidding in December with an initial proposed budget advertised as $5.6 billion (in unrestricted general fund spending). That number, however, did not include a contribution toward the state’s retirement obligation (PERS/TRS), which exceeded $.6 billion in FY 2014 and previously was scheduled to be significantly higher for FY 2015, and also didn’t include money to cover so-called “legislative priorities,” the euphemistic phrase used to refer to legislative earmarks inserted annually by legislators in the capital budget for hometown projects.
Subsequently, last month in successive weeks the House, and then the Senate, announced their versions of the Operating Budget. The House included $5.075 billion in spending in its version, and the Senate $5.25 billion in its. Both versions, however, failed to address the PERS/TRS issue and, until today, both also lacked a corresponding capital budget. Continue reading
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