Senate Finance Considering Bringing On Former Commissioners As Consultants

The Senate Finance Committee is considering hiring two former state commissioners to help lawmakers review state spending and address massive budget deficits.

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The committee’s co-chairs have proposed contracts with former Revenue Commissioner Angela Rodell and former Health Commissioner Bill Streur. The committee is expected to consider the proposals later this week.

Co-chair Anna MacKinnon says she and co-chair Pete Kelly spoke with Gov. Bill Walker and told him they are just looking for the best advice on issues that are major cost drivers, such as Medicaid and debt service.

“I want to be absolutely respectful,” says MacKinnon. The governor should absolutely have a team that he wants at his side to implement his policies and his strategies. But having someone who has been in the trenches I think will be helpful for Alaskans.”

Rodell and Streur served under the previous governor, Sean Parnell. Parnell resisted expanding Medicaid coverage, citing concerns with costs. Walker campaigned on expanding Medicaid and says he thinks it will save the state money.