Palin further reduces spending as budget gap grows
by Rebecca Palsha
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Gov. Sarah Palin is asking lawmakers to shave spending and tap into savings to deal with a worsening budget situation, caused by a big drop in the price of oil.
The governor gave lawmakers a supplemental budget Tuesday that reduces general spending by more than $260 million.
She's also asking them to tap into the state's savings account to balance the budget.
"The price of a barrel of oil has plummeted so we had to be even more prudent of course in budgeting public dollars," Palin said.
Even by reducing spending by $268.6 million, the state is still facing a budget shortfall of about $1.36 billion.
Palin also wants to use money from the state's $7 billion savings account, but needs permission from lawmakers to make it happen.
"I think they are taking it serious, and we are also going to take it serious, and we'll scrub those numbers and work together with the administration," Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, said. "Because not only this beast to deal with, we have an even have a bigger issue (fiscal year 2010)."
But some lawmakers say they need more information before coming to any decisions.
"I think that the administration needs to look at the budget and be more specific, because that is how the administration sets its priorities," Rep. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, said. "Without an unallocated reduction it does not give us that insight."
Currently there's a state hiring freeze. To shave off more spending state departments are not filling vacant positions and delaying purchases.
But some lawmakers feel those aren't really cuts.
Rep. Mike Hawker said in statement, "We're going to be looking for a specific statement of policy from the governor, and where she intends to actually take those reductions as we complete the supplemental budget."
"We've got to make sure we're streamlining, finding efficiencies -- we're going to continue to do that in these next weeks and months, also suggesting to lawmakers were more efficiencies will lie and what we can do about it," Palin said.
Changes are sure to be revealed over the next few weeks.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Palin trying to cut costs in AK - $268 million
Another example of Palin's fiscal conservatism in Alaska, while the democratic majority in DC is trying to push the stimulus on us. Quite a contrast.