(Juneau) - The Alaska State House today passed House Bill 300 and House Bill 302, the Fiscal Year 2011 Statewide Operating and Mental Health Operating budget bills. The House Finance Committee Substitute authorizes $34.1 million less than the governor’s amended FY 11 spending plan, with a 10-percent across the board cut to state agency travel and deferral of funding for issues that require further scrutiny including expenditures for an in-state gas pipeline and legislation still under consideration.
When you add it all up you get a responsible spending plan that reflects our continued and growing awareness of the fiscal circumstances on the state’s horizon.
~ Rep. Mike Hawker
The House Finance Committee substitute for the next fiscal year authorizes $5.1 billion in state general funds, $1.93 billion in federal funds, and $1.09 billion in what are referred to as “other” funds, which are classified as non-discretionary. Total state agency spending is reduced by 1.6% from the governor’s amended proposal.
“After a careful and responsible review, we were able to pass a frugal, benevolent and humble FY 11 budget,” House Finance Committee Co-Chair for the Operating Budget Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage, said. “When you add it all up you get a responsible spending plan that reflects our continued and growing awareness of the fiscal circumstances on the state’s horizon.”
The level of communication between our majority caucus, the administration and the minority caucus enabled us to build consensus and begin thoughtful and deliberative discussions on state spending trends moving forward.
~ Rep. Mike Hawker
Co-Chair Hawker says that the committee crafted a budget that allows the state to live within its means while still meeting the critical needs of life, health and safety. Hawker says the frugal aspect comes from the subcommittee and full committee review process, where members “tightened all corners” of the bill as amended. The benevolent aspect, Hawker says, is the addition of $3 million for prevention and intervention measures to reduce Domestic Violence and Sexual Assaults in Alaska. Finally, Hawker says, the humble aspect comes from the realization that legislators and the administration will have to address difficult fiscal choices on state services in the very near future, with unresolved issues left in the bills as they continue through the legislative process towards passage.
“Our committee took a new path with the FY 11 budget that allowed us to craft it in a way that took the bitter partisanship from years past out of the equation,” Hawker said. “The level of communication between our majority caucus, the administration and the minority caucus enabled us to build consensus and begin thoughtful and deliberative discussions on state spending trends moving forward.”
HB 300 and HB 302 now head to the Alaska State Senate for consideration.
HB 300 passed by a vote of 34 to 6. HB 302 passed unanimously.