Governor's advisor addresses Southeast Conference

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Ben Stevens, the governor's policy advisor, spoke to the 2019 Southeast Conference Mid-Session Summit on Tuesday morning.

    During his speech, he said the top priority for the governor is public safety, which will include more than just an increase law enforcement.

    "It's going to be about more than just more officers on the streets," Stevens said.

    Stevens said additional priorities are job creation and economic development, responsible spending and a responsible budget, sound management of the Permanent Fund, and restoring trust in government

    “He’s determined to succeed in doing what he promised he would do,” Stevens said. "The development of all resources is vital to our economy and job creation.”

    Stevens added that the governor believes expenses must equal revenue.

    "We want to tilt the trends from worst in the nation to best in the nation," he said. "We need to justify expenditures. Is the program providing services to the greatest number of Alaskans? The governor knows the constitution and this budget will be constitutionally sound. It’s a new framework on how to create a budget. It’s a different way of looking at things. It’s a tremendous opportunity to move Alaska forward as a state.”

    The governor is also focused on maintaining and protecting reserves.

    “It means we don’t live off the savings in this state," Stevens said. "It’s not a sustainable model. The budget should not take money from everyday Alaskans, specifically the PFD. The PFD is meant to share the wealth… it should not be taken away.”

    Stevens added that the governor believes the budget should be built on "sustainability, predictability and accountability."

    “How do we keep qualified individuals in jobs we have and that we are going to create," Stevens asked, adding, "Labor & Workforce Development is creating programs to help with this. We’re looking at all the industries in Southeast.”


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