Today, Governor Parnell will release his budget for Fiscal Year 2015.
Parnell is likely to emphasize spending cuts rather than the massive deficit caused by his Oil Giveaway. A careful review of his claims will be warranted. When Governor Parnell presented his last budget (FY 2014), he claimed it would cut spending and produce $500 million in “surplus revenue.” In fact, that budget has a $1 billion dollar deficit, which Parnell attempted to mask with a $374.1 million transfer from the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation.
Governor Parnell has presided over the most significant deterioration of state finances in Alaska history, turning a $5 billion surplus into a $1 billion deficit. Last week, the Department of Revenue revealed that the state will take in $2 billion less revenue in FY 2014 than previously anticipated, while oil production will decline. At this rate, Parnell is poised to draw down all of Alaska’s savings—set aside during the ACES era–within approximately five years. While administering this transition to deficits, Parnell has taken a $26,000 pay raise for himself and has approved of another pay raise this year.
“With his reckless fiscal policies, Parnell puts the Permanent Fund and the entire Alaska economy at risk,” said Mike Wenstrup, Chair of the Alaska Democratic Party. “The only way to clean up Parnell’s fiscal mess is by repealing his Oil Giveaway and electing Byron Mallott.”
Highlights of Gov. Parnell’s Fiscal Disaster:
- Parnell rejected $2 billion for federally-funded expansion of Medicaid for 41,000 Alaskans, giving up billions of dollars in investment and 4,000 jobs.
- The Republican legislature is spending $33 million on posh new offices for legislators in Anchorage, increasing monthly lease costs by 500%.
- While Republicans expand their own offices, Parnell is squeezing state employees from offices into small cubicles.
- The Republican legislature spent $74,000 on an enclosed smokers lounge in Juneau that is reserved for use by legislators only.
- Governor Parnell supports a $6,000 raise for himself, even though he already received a $26,000 pay raise in 2011.
- Since Governor Parnell last raised his own salary, 600 public school teachers and support staff have been laid off while Base Student Allocation education funding has been cut 7% (inflation-adjusted).
- Parnell cut a janitorial contract with REACH, a local non-profit that provides gainful employment for disabled Alaskans. Parnell claimed the contract cancellation would save $100,000, but savings did not materialize when the contractor who replaced REACH had to be fired after six months