Murkowski proposes jet lease in budget

Money would come from general fund for Dept. of Public Safety

Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2005

Gov. Frank Murkowski has included in his proposed budget $1.4 million to lease a jet for the Department of Public Safety, a year after his plan failed to buy a jet with federal Homeland Security funds.

The money would come from the general fund for the Department of Public Safety. The budget item says the jet "would be available for emergency responses and other routine purposes, including prisoner transport."

When not in use by the department, the jet could be used to transport Murkowski and other government personnel.

The $1.4 million also would cover the costs of a pilot, maintenance and fuel.

The plane would replace one of two aging propeller-driven planes.

Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday blasted the proposal, accusing Murkowski of trying to pay for an "executive jet" through state money after failing to do so with federal funds.

"This money is enough to restore the Longevity Bonus for 500 needy Alaska seniors," Rep. Harry Crawford, D-Anchorage, said in a statement. "Now he is trying to use $1.4 million of state general funds to fly in style."

Murkowski spokeswoman Becky Hultberg did not immediately return calls for comment Wednesday.

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