Alaska House Approves $3.2 Billion Fiscal Year 2012 Capital Budget
Pays for Roads, Schools, Infrastructure, Maintenance, Erases Debts; SB 46 Funds Projects & Grants to Boost State's Economy, Leverage Federal Funds
(Juneau) - The Alaska House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2012 Capital Budget tonight, investing in schools, roads, airports, harbors, energy projects and other infrastructure programs across the state.
I believe our process resulted in a better bill, which still reflects the will and wishes of both the Senate and the governor.
~ Rep. Mike Chenault
The budget, Senate Bill 46, funds hundreds of projects and grants ranging from items as small as school equipment replacement to a $400 million transfer into an educational grant fund for scholarship and financial aid.
House Finance Committee Co-Chair Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak/Mat-Su, said the house placed a greater emphasis on infrastructure maintenance and development in its version of the capital spending bill. "We have continued to build out the state through a series of anchor infrastructure projects, while balancing the need for regional parity and leveraging federal funds," Stoltze said. "A lot of the press coverage has focused on the stalemate that brought us into special session. It is time to move past that and focus on the good that is in this bill. We're paying down state debt service by $200 million, which will save the state nearly $14 million per year over the next two decades. That's real savings and a compromise with the other body. With this budget we are continuing to try and combat the state's high cost of living through energy relief, job opportunities and better infrastructure and services.
A lot of the press coverage has focused on the stalemate that brought us into special session. It is time to move past that and focus on the good that is in this bill.
~ Rep. Bill Stoltze
The House Finance Committee Substitute (HCS) for SB 46 invests more than $700 million in surface transportation, $335 million in our airports, and more than $260 million on education. All told, those transportation and school projects make up 41 percent of the budget. Non-transportation projects account for $1.1 billion and include projects that will benefit every Alaskan, through AGIA reimbursement, in-state natural gas pipeline development, renewable energy, and Alaska Housing Finance Corporation weatherization funding.
"Our Finance Co-Chair and Committee did a yeoman's job, taking more than six hours of public testimony and honoring the legislative and public process," House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, said. "They have crafted a bill that meets the desires of Alaskans from all regions while prioritizing aspects of our Caucus's Guiding Principles: showing fiscal responsibility through debt retirement and transfers to savings accounts; promoting excellent schools and workforce development, access to affordable energy, responsible resources development, and safe and healthy communities. I believe our process resulted in a better bill, which still reflects the will and wishes of both the Senate and the governor."
Legislative Finance Division reports on the bill are available at http://www.legfin.state.ak.us
HCS CSSB 46 (FIN), which passed by a vote of 30 - 7, will move back to the Alaska Senate for a concurrence vote.
For more information contact Rep. Stoltze's office at 907-465-4958.
Posted: May 14, 2011