Finance Co-Chairs Respond To Governor's Budget Vetoes

Press Release - 

House Finance Co-Chairs, Mark Neuman and Steve Thompson released the following statements after Governor Bill Walker released his budget vetoes for the FY17 Statewide Operating Budget, House Bill 256, and the FY17 Capital Budget, Senate Bill 138.

“I am glad to see the governor has further reduced the size of government. However, I am concerned that we as a state have gone back on our word for a second year in a row with regards to tax credits,” Co-Chair Mark Neuman, R-Su-Valley, said. 

“Just to be clear, these aren’t tax credits to big global companies. These are for the small, hard-working companies and Alaskan contractors. Companies aren’t going to invest in Alaska when we desperately need them to if they can’t trust us. Regarding the unilateral cut to the permanent fund dividend amount, I’m disappointed,” Neuman said. 

“I understand that we have to make hard decisions to get our budget in line, but we heard strong opposition to the governor’s plan to restructure the permanent fund during the last special session. My job is to represent the people.”

The conference committee report for the FY17 Operating Budget totaled $4.26 billion in unrestricted general funds. The day-to-day portion of the budget was roughly $1.89 billion, a 7.1 percent reduction from FY16’s operations and a 17 percent reduction from FY15.

“These are tough times for Alaska’s budget, I understand that,” Co-Chair Steve Thompson, R-Fairbanks, said. “However, I don’t agree with the vetoes the governor made today. I echo the sentiment of Co-Chair Neuman. It’s like we’re just taking out a new credit card to pay off the old one. At some point we’re going to have to pay it off, and when we do, the amount will be much larger. We have to take care of today’s debts now, not later.”

“Capital budgets create jobs, plain and simple,” Thompson said. “In our current fiscal situation, we need to make sure our economy stays strong. We don’t have a lot of roads in Alaska, so when you cut eight statewide road construction projects totaling $250 million, you’re cutting a lot of jobs.”

Governor Walker has already called a fifth special session to address his plan to restructure the permanent fund and the current oil and gas tax system. The session will convene on July 11, 2016 in Juneau. The Legislature will have the opportunity to override any of the budget vetoes during the special session.

For more information, contact Rep. Neuman’s office at 907-376-2679 or Rep. Thompson’s office at 907-452-1088.