Gov. Parnell talks State economy, local impacts
Gov. Sean Parnell visited Petersburg last week and spoke with Petersburg Pilot staff about regional issues as well as the future of Alaska’s economy.
Parnell said, because of oil tax changes, oil companies are increasing investment in production.
“What that means in real life is that money is going into wells where there is known oil which means new state revenue which means not only jobs for Alaskans but more revenue for communities that depend on that revenue,” Parnell said.
But it will take time for the revenue to become real. A slim state budget this year means less state money for communities like Petersburg. And with local capital projects such as the projected $9.7 million municipal remodel, Parnell advises local government officials to find ways to self fund the project.
“I walked through the police station and saw the floors and the ceilings and the shabby shape they’re in,” Parnell said. “Right now it is up to Petersburg legislators to get money in the budget. It’s easier for them to do that if they can point to local dollars either through a bond or through general funds reserves.”
The state kicked in around $4 million last year for the proposed standalone police station the borough had developed, which is now going towards the municipal remodel which includes the police station.
Parnell also said that building a more secure financial foundation also means taking care of millions in unfunded Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) and Teachers Retirement System (TRS) liabilities.
Parnell has proposed transferring $3 billion in savings into the State’s retirement funds to pay down unfunded liability—estimated at around $11.9 billion—and create a lower fixed annual payment in the future.
Parnell also visited with Petersburg School District teachers and administrators along with borough government employees and officials.