Gov. Frank Murkowski's Office of Management and Budget has made public its proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2004.
The budget released to the state House and Senate on Friday is the current fiscal year's budget as approved by the Legislature and governor earlier this year.
State law requires the governor to release the state budget by Dec. 15 of each year.
In a press release, Murkowski said the short period of time between his inauguration and the release date - less than two weeks - was not enough to create the spending proposal.
"To prepare a responsible governor's budget, a new administration needs more than 13 days to review current state program spending and new program funding requests prepared by the previous administration," Murkowski said in a letter to legislators.
The Murkowski administration has until Jan. 24 to submit an updated budget and until the 45th day of the 2003 legislative session, which begins Jan. 21, to submit amendments that can substantially change the budget.
In addition to rigid time constraints for releasing the budget, Murkowski still must fill commissioners' positions for more than half of the state's departments. The administration is reviewing all programs and funding issues and conducting performance audits in each department.
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