Democratic governor hopeful Mallott calls out Parnell for budget claims

On Thursday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott said that Gov. Sean Parnell was misleading the public about the state budget in a fundraising email that Parnell’s campaign sent out bragging about his fiscal record. “As Washington D.C. continues to overspend and overregulate, Governor Sean Parnell cut state general fund spending by $1.1 billion in the 2015 budget,” the fundraising email said.

Mallott, who isn’t known so far for his brass-knuckles responses, fired back: “Under Sean Parnell, Alaska has undergone an unprecedented fiscal collapse. Parnell took a $5 billion surplus and turned it into a $2 billion deficit,” Mallott wrote.

Indeed, Parnell is on tricky ground here. While he can technically say that he cut the budget, it’s only because his past budgets were so big. Too, the state took a whole category out of that budget. In previous years, the state’s contribution to the state’s retirement program had been in the operating budget. In fiscal year 2015, it’s not. In part, that’s because the state took an unprecedented $3 billion from the Constitutional Budget Reserve and put it towards the ballooning retirement program.

Many lauded Parnell for pushing, and for the Legislature passing, the one-time payment. But though it was likely wise fiscal policy, at least some portion of that should have been included in the budget in order to get an accurate comparison to previous years’ budgets. (See Brad Keithley’s blog post on that issue here.)

For his part, Mallott also appears to be doing some creative accounting. He leaves out the $3 billion when he refers to “liquidated budget surpluses.”

What is true is that under Parnell, the state is going into nearly $2 billion deficit spending. And at the same time, Parnell who signs the budget, as well as the Legislature which proposes it, have continually excoriated Washington D.C. for overspending. In April, Parnell signed a resolution passed by the Legislature calling for a federal balanced budget.

“Now it is time the federal government takes the necessary steps to address its out-of-control debt. America remains on an unsustainable spending path and we cannot rely on Congress or the president to fix this problem,” he said. 

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11 thoughts on “Democratic governor hopeful Mallott calls out Parnell for budget claims

  1. Carey

    I wonder who wrote this press release? My impression of Mr. Mallott is that he is very weak on policy matters. He is anything but a policy wonk. If he were to be elected governor, which I think is a far stretch, he would allow his commissioners to run amok with government. I also think of him as lazy. Why Hollis French ever dropped out of the race for governor to assure Mallott the nomination is a mystery to me.

  2. Cindy

    Mallott is not a nice person. He is self-absorbed and egotistical. He also has a horrible temper. His campaign has been lackluster at best.

  3. Anonymous

    Ah, give the commenter a break. Let them slam and trash a running congressional senator when it’s about candidates running for governor. It is rather entertaining.

  4. TJK

    Byron Mallott has been a decent business person. That’s a good attribute for a gubernatorial candidate. With SB 21 on the ballot and its far reaching impact on our economy, I’d like to know what Mallott’s beliefs are about our oil industry and iots role in our economy.

  5. ReTurnagain

    I don’t know how a race for Governor of Alaska can be only about U.S. Senator Begich’s record…

  6. Corey

    I agree. This race is about one thing and that’s Begich’s record. Everything else is a distraction.

  7. Fiscal Freaks

    OMG. Really. Should I believe it? Byron Mallott has taken a bold and yes a hypocritical position. Byron’s proposals would do nothing to decrease state spending. In fact, his proposals would have the opositte effect.

  8. Lynn Willis

    Only a fool would claim a savings by comparing two huge budgets we simply cannot afford and only a bigger fool would be comforted by that claim. .Now the same folks who praised Professor Scott Goldsmith of ISER for pointing out that the passage of SB 21 could not account for a 2 billion dollar loss refuse to face Goldsmith’s other observation that we are spending our cash reserves as the rate of about 7 million dollars per day (at that rate we are spending a billion dollars of saving every 143 days). And to add insult to injury Governor Parnell refused to line item veto one single penny from the current budget. I would like to know, at current SB21 tax rates, how much increased production of oil will be required simply of offset that 7 million dollar per day deficit?
    What kind of fiscal management is that? . Over the last five years Governor Sean Parnell has taken Alaska into a fiscal disaster and what do we have to show for it? Perhaps the fact that Juneau, the base of State Government, is now the second largest city in Alaska replacing Fairbanks is the proof of what Parnell’s record breaking budgets have actually accomplished. After all. Fairbanks relies on resource development while Juneau relies on bloated state government – so the change makes perfect sense.
    We can do better…….

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