Senate Approves Lean Capital Budget
JUNEAU – The Alaska State Senate approved a lean capital budget today, appropriating $35 million less than the governor’s proposal and $44 million less than last year’s budget.
“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.”
The bill is now on its way to the Alaska House of Representatives for consideration.