Alaska state budget (2011-2012)

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Alaska's Governor Sean Parnell on June 29, 2011 signed budgets totaling $11.4 billion, $6.9 billion of which came from the state’s general fund. The governor vetoed $400 million, many of the cuts aimed at one-time projects in the capital budget. Parnell explained that his budget vetoes were to ensure the state lived within its means.[1] The vetoes reduced the budget from $3.2 billion to $2.8 billion.[2] The governor said that although the state was expected to end the year with $15 billion in available savings, it was also facing an unfunded retirement liability of $11 billion.[3]

The Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2012 can be accessed here.

At the start of fiscal year 2012, the state had $15.9 billion in undesignated savings, a category that includes the constitutional and statutory budget reserve funds and Permanent Fund earnings reserve account. The total market value of the Permanent Fund was at approximately $39 billion.[4]

Education spending

For fiscal year 2012, Alaska devoted 23 percent of its total spending to education, up from 21.6 percent in fiscal year 2009.[5]

Fiscal year Total spending[6] Education spending[7] Percent education spending
2009 $14.3 billion $3.1 billion 21.6%
2010 $13.9 billion $3.1 billion 22.3%
2011 $13.8 billion $3.2 billion 23.1%
2012 $14.3 billion $3.3 billion 23.0%

Legislative budget

The House adjourned on May 14, 2011, three days early. The House had been locked in a month-long budget dispute with the Senate and its adjournment forced the Senate either to accept the House's version of the omnibus capital bill or to let the state go without the budget. The Senate agreed.[8]

The capital budget was higher than Gov. Sean Parnell had indicated he'd be willing to accept. He had said that he would approve expenditures of $2.8 billion if lawmakers also passed a bill addressing oil taxes, and they did not do so.[9]

Governor's proposed budget

The governor's proposed budget did not include $123 million in Medicaid increases that were picked up by the 2010 federal stimulus program, but would become the state's responsibility in 2011 Instead, the governor budgeted for the regular cost increase, $46 million, and said he planned to work with other governors to try to get the federal government to absorb that increase. The budget also included an extra $1 million to fund legal challenges to the federal government on development and environmental protection issues, $100 million for deferred maintenance of state facilities and $10 million for the Southeast Energy Fund.

Fiscal year 2012 began July 1, 2011, and Gov. Sean Parnell said that he wanted Alaska to live within its means, but his budget director, Karen Rehfeld, said that there had been no talk about spending caps, restrictions or cuts.[10]

The Governor announced in September 2010 that his goal for the fiscal year 2012 operating budget was that it hold the line. He said that to achieve that goal he was prepared to make cuts in some areas and increases in the areas he called "constitutional priorities," including resource development, education, transportation and public safety.[11]

A new amendment to the Alaska Transportation Improvement Program would have increased its budget by $30 million by 2013. Of the $30 million, $25 would go towards improving AMATS’ highway safety improvement plan.[12]

References