Alaska Chamber statement on Governor Walker's FY 2018 budget proposal

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December 16, 2016
Anchorage, AK – The Alaska Chamber’s mission is to promote a healthy business environment in Alaska. For years, the Chamber has advocated for sustainable state spending and reducing the operating budget to a level Alaskans can afford. Uncertainty regarding Alaska’s fiscal future harms families and businesses, and discourages private investment in the state.

Among a list of spending cuts included in Governor Walker’s state budget proposal released yesterday, is a recommendation to freeze step increases for non-unionized employees, which is expected to save the state $10 million over two years. The Chamber commends the Governor for his FY 18 budget proposal. Many components contained in the budget are similar to legislation the Chamber pushed for earlier this year; consolidating services and freezing step increases for state employees to name a few.

“The Governor’s proposed freeze to automatic salary increases, however, affects just 1,800 of the approximately 16,000 employees. If the Governor applies his plan to the State's entire workforce, it could save nearly 80 million dollars over two years,” said Curtis W. Thayer, president and CEO of the Alaska Chamber.

The fiscal challenges that burden state government are not new, and the tools to address the problems are well defined. However, without taking appropriate steps, the State’s fiscal challenge will only grow and worsen Alaska’s economic health.

The Chamber looks forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature on opportunities to further reduce state government operating costs before turning to the Alaska’s businesses again. We believe that is the cornerstone to a true sustainable fiscal plan. Our elected officials need to put partisanship aside and continue to reduce State spending, restructure the permanent fund, and create a stable climate for business. Together we can use our existing resources to keep Alaska moving forward as we look to tomorrow.
 
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About the Alaska Chamber
The Alaska Chamber, a private, non-profit corporation, operating since 1952, works to promote a positive business environment in Alaska. The Chamber is the voice of small and large business representing hundreds of businesses, manufactures and local chambers from across Alaska. Our member companies employ over 100,000 hard-working Alaskans. For more information visit alaskachamber.com.

 
Contact:
Brandy Dixon, Communications and Events Director
bdixon@alaskachamber.com, (907) 278-2727