Chenault takes swipe at Parnell’s administration

Recently I wrote about how Democratic Reps. Les Gara from Anchorage, and Scott Kawasaki from Fairbanks, sent an email out to all members of the Legislature, trying to get support for a bill that would deny recommended pay raises for Gov. Sean Parnell, Lt. Gov Mead Treadwell, and the governor’s hand-picked commissioners. The bill was seen by some as a partisan move.

Now, however, it looks less so. On Monday, two days before Christmas, Alaska state Speaker of the House Mike Chenault also sent out an email to members of his caucus, which is primarily composed of Republicans, pitching a bill that would also deny the pay raise.

The raises were recommended by a state commission, which said that raises were “consistent with increases received by the majority of state employees.” The Legislature must act in the first 60 days of session, otherwise the pay raise automatically takes effect.

Parnell has already declined his salary increase, which would have bumped his pay from $145,000 to $154,644 by fiscal year 2015.

However, Parnell supports the other pay raises, which include bumping the lieutenant governor’s salary from $115,000 to $122,649 by 2015 and commissioners from $136,350 to $149,796.24 by 2015.

Dozens of state works and at least 40, if not more, members of unions working for the Municipality of Anchorage make significantly more money than either the commissioners or the governor.

The raises would cost the state roughly $140,000 a year by fiscal year 2015.

Some are surprised that the Republican leader of the House has taken such a swipe at his party’s Republican administration. Some see it as a way for Chenault’s caucus to regain the fiscal conservative label following the financial debacle surrounding the lease for the Anchorage legislative office building, the hundreds of millions spent on a natural gas pipeline that has yet to be built, and tens of millions spent on trying to build a bridge across the Knick Arm, famously dubbed one of the “Bridges to Nowhere.” To name a few projects that by most accounts, could be deemed less than fiscally responsible.

In other news: Merry Christmas.

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5 thoughts on “Chenault takes swipe at Parnell’s administration

  1. Wyland

    Yeh, let’s make a big deal of something that is inconsequential. These politicians are like magicians they tell you to watch their right hand closely while doing the deed with their other hand. Chenault and his gruesome gang wants us to focus on this matter instead of their real spending abuses like the ANCHORAGE OFFICE BUILDING. Representative Hawker should be impeached for dereliction of duty, fiscal irresponsibility and selling out the state treasury. Speaker Chenault is a good man and it sucks that he has weasels like Hawker in his organization.

  2. Lynn Willis

    Cutting wages is simply political theater. How will that reduce spending in the billions? The state is simply spending beyond its means.
    A certain way to get kicked out of the majority caucus is to vote against the state budget. In other words you had better shut up and behave or the caucus leadership will destroy your influence forever. Couple that “tradition” with the ability of any committee chair to veto legislation by simply refusing to hold a hearing. So even if the minority has a good idea to reduce spending that idea will never see the light of day.
    The good old boys and girls got to be in charge by years of toady behavior and they expect it from the new legislators. Of course we might have a chance of living within our means if the Governor would exercise his constitutional authority to veto budget lines (like millions for new construction under a budget category of “critical maintenance”); however, party loyalty and granting of the quid pro quo trumps fiduciary control at every juncture. As I have been told; “when spineless meets shameless in the legislature, shameless wins every time”.

  3. Paul M.

    This is definitely a strange turn of events. It probably has a lot to do with the Republicans running from the gross deal give away associated with the Anchorage Legislative Office building.

  4. Steve Pattison

    I think an article detailing the enormous amount of lettuce the state has spent on studies, commissions, and other venues dealing with feasibility for natural gas, pebble, new legislature lease, bridge to Point Mckenzie, and anything else that has gone nowhere. How much homework is necessary to decide if these projects are necessary.
    Also who picks the commissioners for this stuff; are there bids for these services?
    Just my 2 cents, for free. Ha! Steve Pattison

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