Senate Approves Lean Capital Budget
May 11, 2017
“We prioritized funding for maintenance of state assets, while leveraging as many federal dollars as possible,” said Sen. Anna MacKinnon, R-Eagle River, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “With limited resources at our disposal, we directed funding toward highways, airports, housing programs, harbors and the safe water program.”
To provide reliable annual funding for preventative and deferred maintenance for state assets, including the University of Alaska, the Senate also passed Senate Bill 107. The bill is still working its way through the Alaska House of Representatives.
Additionally, $288 million was appropriated to pay down the state’s outstanding oil and gas tax credit liability. Legislators across party lines – as well as Gov. Bill Walker – agree that the state should end the cashable credit program and pay off the backlog over time.
“There’s broad consensus that the State of Alaska should pay off its outstanding obligations,” said Sen. MacKinnon. “We’ve heard from the administration about the importance of removing uncertainty from the economy. That’s why the Senate is taking the lead on fulfilling the state’s commitments.”
In summary, the Alaska Senate Majority cut education funding by $69 million, cut the Pioneer Home by $6.5 million, and refused amendments presented by Senate Democrats to fully restore last year's Permanent Fund Dividend and fully fund this year's PFD, even though the statute required it. The Senate Majority gave Alaska's entire statutory savings, $288 million, to the oil industry for subsidies and rejected an amendment to require at least that Alaskan companies get first priority on payment of oil subsidies.
The bill is now on its way to the Alaska House of Representatives for consideration.
Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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