Thompson Intros Military & Community Support Bill (HB 316)
HB 316 proposes creating ‘Military Facility Zones’ to help businesses and communities secure funds and projects to serve and support their installations
Thursday, February 09, 2012, Juneau, Alaska – A group of legislators, led by Rep. Steve Thompson, have introduced a bill in the House to support Alaska’s military installations and the communities they protect and serve by creating new “zones” to attract business, infrastructure and development.
House Bill 316, sponsored by Reps. Thompson, Dan Saddler, Eric Feige, Mike Chenault, Bob Herron, and Tammie Wilson, was introduced on the House floor yesterday and referred to the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs.
HB 316 gives statutory authority to the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs to establish “Military Facility Zones” within the State of Alaska. Military Facility Zones are designated areas in close proximity to a military base (facility) where industrial or economic development will directly enhance the base’s ability to fulfill its mission.
“Military Facility Zones have been successfully employed in other states as vehicles to obtain and administer funds for business development specifically relating to military activities,” Thompson, R-Fairbanks, said.
Funding for such zones in Alaska may be available from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) or from federal New Market Tax Credits. Federal, state, local, or private funding sources, credit, or guarantee programs can be made available directly to municipalities and boroughs that are working on specifically-approved projects within a Zone.
“These Zones create opportunities for significant benefits to Alaska and to the nation,” Thompson said. “They will enhance economic activity near military installations, thereby facilitating economic growth and development in the state. Local governments can then benefit by working in close partnership with their military counterparts.
Thompson said the zones promote expansion of infrastructure to benefit both military and civilian objectives, such as civil defense, homeland security and emergency responses. “They will enhance the nation’s military capabilities by helping bases operate more effectively and efficiently,” Thompson said.
Thompson said establishing zones in Alaska will clearly demonstrate the state’s continuing and substantive support for the armed services, and help defend against the negative impacts on Alaska’s regional economies and military communities that might occur should the U.S. Congress choose to implement the federal Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) following a recent announcement of $500 billion in defense spending cuts.