Story last updated at 2/11/2009 - 11:38 am
JUNEAU - The state hiring freeze announced by Gov. Sarah Palin last month is likely to affect hundreds of jobs in Alaska's capital, totaling millions of dollars in payroll removed from the local economy, according to state officials.
The unexpected maneuver to help the state's budget overcome what is projected to be a $2 billion deficit, down from earlier projections of $7.5 billion of surplus revenue, was announced Jan. 23 during Palin's State-of-the-State address. That number was based on Alaska reaping the benefits of oil selling at $70 per barrel, nearly twice the current rate.
Of the 1,500 unfilled state jobs, only the 844 positions paid for solely through Alaska's General Fund will be subject to the freeze, according to Karen Rehfeld, Palin's budget director. Of those jobs, 360 are in Anchorage, 75 in Fairbanks and 205 are positioned in Juneau.