Walker Releases Parnell Budget As Placeholder

Gov. Bill Walker has released his predecessor’s budget without changes and without endorsement.

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Former Gov. Sean Parnell gave his budget to the Walker administration on Monday, and the Office of Management and Budget posted it on Friday.

Parnell’s budget would allocate $5.3 billion in state funding to operating expenditures, a cut of 4 percent over last year’s budget. The proposed amount for capital spending was also cut down to $200 million. Last year, Parnell first offered a budget with $400 million in capital spending, which then grew to $600 million after the Legislature added projects and Parnell signed the bill.

In a statement, Walker described Parnell’s proposal as a “starting point” to meet a budget deadline that comes two weeks after inauguration.

Pat Pitney, who was recently appointed Walker’s budget director, also said in a statement that the new governor plans to remove some of the capital projects included in Parnell’s budget. Walker has until February 18 to offer an amended budget.

With oil prices now below $70 per barrel, the state is expected to face a major revenue shortfall. If oil prices average $85 per barrel this year, the deficit is projected to exceed $3 billion.