Yesterday, the legislature convened itself in a 3rd special session to pass the capital budget.  The legislature passed a bipartisan compromise that uses about $122 million in state unrestricted general funds to obtain about $1.2 billion in federal funds.  For every dollar in state funds, we receive $10 from the federal government for a variety of infrastructure and transportation projects.  While the operating budget funds the day-to-day services that Alaskans rely on, the capital budget funds major projects throughout the state to ensure safety and access to our transportation network.

This bipartisan compromise between the House and Senate bodes well for future discussions on how to address the fiscal gap.  I am hopeful that House and Senate leadership can come together at some point in the near term to achieve a fiscal solution that works and is fair for all Alaskans.

A few of the key points from the capital budget:
  • It honors commitments to the oil and gas industry by providing another $20 million for the outstanding tax credit liability,
  • It includes an additional $8 million in local community assistance,
  • It also pays for about $5 million in deferred maintenance for the University of Alaska.

This compromise plan is the smallest capital budget since 2000 which underscores the importance of getting our fiscal house in order.

I look forward to continuing this spirit of cooperation between the House and Senate, and between Democrats, Republicans and Independents with passage of a comprehensive fiscal solution later this year.