House passes capital budget

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The House voted 32-8 to pass the capital budget and 31-7 to pull the local match from the Constitutional Budget Reserve.

    With these margins, the house could override any gubernatorial veto of the bill.

    It would also fund many of the programs who lost money in the reverse sweep.  They include college scholarships for students.

    The bill also qualifies the state for close to $1 billion in federal dollars.

    Majority leader Steve Thompson said the bill will help save 15,000 jobs for the construction industry.

    Rep. Sara Hannan said politics should not stand in the way of doing what we need to do to govern Alaska.  She said the bill will fund the crime bill and doesn't de-fund programs that the legislature did not have policy discussions about.

    Monday's vote was the House's third try this special session to pass a fully funded capital budget, which relies on funding from the constitutional budget reserve fund. That fund required 30 votes in the House to tap.

    Supporters of the bill had fallen one vote short of the threshold in the prior effort to pass a funded budget.

    The bill also includes language intended to prevent various accounts, including those used for rural energy costs and student scholarships, from being swept into the reserve fund to help repay money that's been taken from it.

    The legislation also contains important “reverse sweep” language, which reverses the governor’s unprecedented action to zero out university scholarships for 12,000 students, increase rural energy rates by eliminating Power Cost Equalization, and take away grants from organizations that serve domestic violence victims and the homeless.

    Because the Senate previously passed S.B. 2002 with a three-quarter supermajority, as the House did today on a 31-to-7 vote, the “reverse sweep” process is final and binding. The governor could, however, veto line items contained within the capital budget.
    “Today’s vote provides certainty that our private sector will have the resources needed to build Alaska. It also restores confidence for Alaskans that the Legislature is willing to set aside disagreements and vote for good legislation,” House Speaker Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham) said. “I personally thank every member who voted for this bill, and I remain committed to finding compromise on the many other important issues ahead.”


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