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Morning Headlamp - Senate Majority & House Minority Look to Tighten Spending


Strings attached. According to the Associated Press, Alaska has never violated its constitutional spending cap, but many Republican lawmakers consider the limit too loose and want it tightened to limit future government growth. Lawmakers who have prioritized a spending limit see it as a way to keep the leaner government, which has resulted from ongoing cuts, from bloating if oil prices rebound and Alaska is again flush with cash.


Alaska's constitution sets spending at a $2.5-billion base that's to be adjusted for inflation and population changes. The limit, approved by voters in 1982, excludes certain types of spending, such as money that goes to Alaska Permanent Fund dividends, bond payments and federal money. House Finance Committee co-chair Paul Seaton, a leader of the new House Majority coalition, has appeared lukewarm on the idea of a new cap, saying a cap simply serves to limit future Legislatures from addressing problems they may face.


The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 18 this week to 712. Alaska however, only saw an increase of one.


The Matanuska-Susitna Borough could be on the hook for millions of dollars spent to repair a failing barge dock at the borough's little-used port — a repair that failed again months later. The borough last week learned its $2.36 million insurance claim on the original damage has been denied, even as officials gear up for a permanent fix expected to cost roughly $1.5 million. The borough got the bad news in a letter from Chubb Limited that arrived early last week, according to port director Marc Van Dongen.


First Reads

Alaska lawmakers mull spending cap amid deficit
Associated Press, Becky Bohrer, January 29, 2017

US rig count increases 18 this week to 712; Alaska gains one
Associated Press, Becky Bohrer, January 29, 2017

RPT-ANALYSIS-Border tax ideas roil oil markets, favor Gulf Coast refiners
NASDAQ, Liz Hampton, January 29, 2017

Enstar saw record gas use during recent Alaska cold spell
Alaska Dispatch News, Alex DeMarban, January 29, 2017

Insurance company denies $2.3 million claim for Mat-Su port repairs
Alaska Dispatch News, Zac Hollander, January 30, 2017

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