Lawmakers agree on capital budget funding for oil and gas tax credits, Kivalina school

Kivalina

Kivalina, Alaska, in August 2009. Legislative leaders agreed to a capital budget that adds funding to build a new school for the community. (Creative Commons photo by Lt. Cmdr. Micheal McNeil/U.S. Coast Guard)

State lawmakers are scheduled to vote Thursday on a capital budget that will include $20 million in oil and gas tax credits. It would also add $8 million to assist municipalities and $7 million to complete a school in Kivalina.

Those are among the details released Wednesday on Senate Bill 23, the capital budget for the fiscal year that started at the beginning of July.

Lawmakers plan to spend as little as one day in Juneau, as they meet for their third special session this year. The Legislature is scheduled to gavel in at 11 a.m. A conference committee plans to meet on the capital budget early in the afternoon. And both the Senate and House could pass it later in the day.

Associated General Contractors of Alaska Executive Director John MacKinnon said it’s important for the Legislature to act.

“All in all, I’m very pleased we’re going to get a capital budget,” he said.

The state would forgo $1.18 billion in federal funding if it didn’t pass the $1.43 billion capital budget.

John MacKinnon’s wife is state Sen. Anna MacKinnon, R-Eagle River. She’s been negotiating the capital budget with Nome Democratic Rep. Neal Foster.

The capital budget would be the smallest since 2000.

This capital budget could affect a long-proposed megaproject in Juneau by moving money out of a major road extension toward other projects. Juneau Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Craig Dahl opposed the changes.

“Taking any money away from that, that would jeopardize it moving forward is not a good thing, in the state’s best interest,” Dahl said.

Gov. Bill Walker decided against pursuing the Juneau Access road last year, but project supporters continue to push for it.

The capital budget agreement doesn’t include $700 million that the House had passed to restore Permanent Fund dividends to the full amount set by state law. Instead of a projected $2,300, dividends would be $1,100 per Alaskan.

The capital budget agreement also includes $7 million for the Arctic Strategic Transportation and Resources project. It’s intended to improve transportation in nine North Slope Borough communities.

The $20 million for oil and gas tax credits would be added to $57 million for credits in the operating budget enacted in June. That brings the total to the minimum suggested by state law. But it’s a small fraction of $288 million passed by the Senate.

It’s not clear whether there will be a fourth special session later this year to pass a plan Walker proposed to balance the state’s budget in the long term.

Recent headlines

X