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Governor Signs Education Account, Airport Bills


April 01, 2005

Juneau, Alaska - Governor Frank H. Murkowski signed into law a bill that ensures K-12 funds that are appropriated by the Legislature are spent on public schools and another bill to make improvements at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport without public funds.

House Bill 158 establishes the Public Education Fund and makes clear that the fund is not subject to annual budgetary "sweep" provisions that force millions in unspent education money to revert back to the general fund at the end of a fiscal year for other possible uses.

"When the Legislature and the governor win agreement on how best to support our K-12 schools we need assurance that the money will go to the classrooms where it is needed. This account gives permanence to our K-12 spending priorities," Murkowski said.

House Bill 158, sponsored by the House Finance Committee, also allows interest earned by the fund to be appropriated back into the fund for future school needs. State support for pupil transportation would also be drawn from this fund. It is estimated that $14 million in general fund support for K-12 schools will go unspent by the end of FY05.

"This session I set a high bar for education funding and I'm thankful that Republican leadership in the Legislature has risen to the challenge by offering unprecedented levels of funding for our schools," Murkowski said. "This account makes sure our commitment to education is something schools can count on long after the fiscal year ends."

House Bill 115, sponsored by the House Labor and Commerce Committee, would allow the state to construct a new rental car facility at the Anchorage airport using revenues from a rental car surcharge. The Legislature authorized this customer facility charge in 2001. No state credit would be pledged to support the bonds and this funding method has worked to make improvements at Dallas-Fort Worth and Denver airports.

Immediately after completion of construction, the facility becomes state property and a customer facility maintenance charge will be used to maintain the facility for the benefit of rental car customers.

"Not only do rental car customers pay to build the facility that they will use, they also provide for maintenance costs for the next 30 years," Murkowski said. "It's an excellent, and well tested example of a user-pay system that enhances our largest airport without the use of state funds."


Source of News:

Office of the Governor
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