Legislature(1995 - 1996)

1996-02-02 Senate Journal

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1996-02-02                     Senate Journal                      Page 2283
SB 260                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 260 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                              
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                          
An Act making supplemental appropriations for the                             
expenses of state government and making and                                    
amending appropriations; ratifying certain state                               
expenditures; and providing for an effective date.                             
was read the first time and referred to the Finance Committee.                 
Governor's transmittal letter dated February 1:                                
Dear President Pearce:                                                         

1996-02-02                     Senate Journal                      Page 2284
SB 260                                                                       
In the first two weeks of my administration, I made a public                   
commitment not to play the supplemental game.  The FY96                        
supplemental request I am submitting to you now makes good on                  
that promise.  It falls within the $20 million level anticipated in the        
FY96 budget plan approved by the legislature last May and signed               
by me.  I have insisted that agencies manage their resources in a              
manner consistent with overall appropriations.  This is the lowest             
supplemental request in nearly ten years, a far cry from the $37               
million to $168 million requests of recent years.                              
You will find requests which are customary and entirely appropriate            
for the supplemental process such as legal judgments and claims,               
ratifications of past year expenditures, extensions of lapse dates and         
miscellaneous claims and stale-dated warrants.  Three categories --            
wild land fire fighting activities, flood disasters, and facility leases --    
were identified in the last appropriation cycle as expenditures which          
the Legislature explicitly preferred to fund through supplementals.            
In a few cases, we propose adjusting appropriations within a                   
department to meet needs that were unanticipated when the budget               
was passed last May.  In keeping with responsible budget discipline,           
I asked agencies to find ways to cover these needs within their                
existing appropriations if at all possible.  As a result of this effort,       
you will find several net-zero proposals that realign projected savings        
within an agency to cover anticipated shortfalls for FY96.                     
We have encountered several problems as a result of the                        
Legislatures decision to fund fire and disaster activities in                  
supplementals.  It was sometimes difficult during the interim to reach         
legislative leaders to get their approval for disaster relief.  We are         
anticipating that the extremely low temperatures and snowfall in               
Alaska this year may mean worse than usual fire and disaster                   
seasons.  The Department of Natural Resources must begin                       
negotiations with contractors very soon on contracts for the                   
upcoming fire season and emergency fire fighter wages.  We do not              
have funding authorization for these contracts; it will be needed by           
March so final agreements can be signed.  Despite working diligently           
to close out past disaster accounts, as it stands now, the Department          
of Military and Veterans Affairs will not have sufficient general fund         
authorization for this springs floods.                                         

1996-02-02                     Senate Journal                      Page 2285
SB 260                                                                       
To rectify these problems, I am recommending that the supplemental             
budget include approximately $2 million to restore an appropriate              
funding mechanism for the types of disasters and fires that occur              
every year.  Since we have kept other supplementals to a minimum,              
we can fix this problem within the $20 million projected for total             
supplementals.  My Office of Management and Budget would like                  
to work with the finance committees to address the Legislatures                
concerns about cost control, timely close-out of past disaster accounts        
and the ability to respond quickly to disasters and fires.                     
This supplemental proposes investing in three important components             
of welfare reform using anticipated lapses due to reduced caseloads            
in Medicaid and Aid to Families with Dependent Children.  To meet              
new federal requirements, we absolutely must revamp our eligibility            
determination computer systems.  We can get a head start on this               
two to three year project using AFDC funds that would otherwise                
lapse.  Additional child care funds will enable us to help even more           
parents move from welfare to work this year.  The family                       
independence emergency fund would allow us to keep future AFDC                 
appropriations lower by providing a back-stop in case the number of            
families on welfare does not drop as quickly as we project.                    
To ensure budget discipline, I urge your early consideration of this           
supplemental bill.  Additional information about these requests will           
be provided by the Office of Management and Budget.                            
						Tony Knowles