Parnell Signs Budgets, Spares Veto Pen

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Governor Sean Parnell signed the state operating and capital budgets Wednesday afternoon in downtown Anchorage, beginning with a speech to the Rotary Club, in which he said the Legislature met the spending targets he laid out for it.

Parnell noted that the Legislature had cut general fund spending by a $1 billion each year for the last three years, and by dipping into reserves, it has reduced future payments into the projected $12 billion deficit in retirement funds for teachers and state employees.

“Our administration, we, with the legislature, made sustainable, the single biggest cost driver in the budget” Parnell said. “I proposed paying down a portion of that debt, that 12 billion dollar debt and then lowering our annual payments.

Legislators approved that concept and they unanimously agreed, Republicans and Democrats, unanimously agreed to take, to move three billion dollars from the constitutional budget reserve into the retirement trust funds.”

The governor said that one-time payment will reduce future payments that were expected to rise to more than $1 billion a year, to more like $300 million.

The budget includes an education funding formula increase that will continue in future years. The total of all budgets, including federal funds, is $12.8 billion.

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