Juneau – As lawmakers grapple with how to fill a $3 billion budget gap, the Alaska House Majority Coalition has instituted several cost-saving measures within the Alaska House of Representatives. The largest such measure is to roll-back the level of staff pay that existed under the previous House Majority Caucus. The Legislative Affairs Agency anticipates savings of more than $270,000 compared to last year’s staff compensation.
“I believe every Representative needs good staff to be effective, but for too long the previous majority organization refused to make necessary in-house reductions while cutting nearly every other aspect of state services,” said House Rules Committee Chair Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux (R-Anchorage). “This year, the new majority rolled back staff pay, and as a result, we are projected to save the State of Alaska well over a quarter of a million dollars.”
The House Rules Committee is the committee of jurisdiction for staff hired during the legislative sessions in Juneau. Staff hired during the interim, between sessions, must be authorized by the Speaker of the House.
“The members of the Alaska House Majority Coalition have repeatedly said that all options to help fill our budget gap should be on the table. We are putting our money where our mouth is by limiting the amount that our very valuable staff can be paid,” said Speaker Bryce Edgmon (D-Dillingham). “This was not done to punish anyone, we simply can’t afford to continue the practice of ignoring legislative salaries while reducing resources available for crucial state services.”
Besides limiting staff pay in the Alaska House of Representatives, the Alaska House Majority Coalition has also put in place cost-saving measures on the heavily used legislative cafeteria, limited lawmaker travel, and cut back on the amount and kinds of materials printed by the in-house print shop. The Coalition has also limited the number of subscriptions for periodicals and other reference materials.
“By no means are we done looking for additional cost savings within the Alaska House of Representatives,” said Rep. LeDoux. “We will leave no stone unturned as we try and save the people’s money while still ensuring we get the people’s business done. It must be done as just a small step to overcome the fiscal challenges brought on by the low price of oil and years of legislative inaction.”
For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.