Alaska owes public workers $6.6 billion more in pensions than it has in assets.
Current state law allows the Gov. Bill Walker’s administration to sell up to $5 billion in bonds, but the Legislature needs to appropriate that money. The bill would reduce that amount to $1.5 billion. But it signals that at least some lawmakers could support an appropriation in the future.
Sen. Anna MacKinnon, an Eagle River Republican, said the bill is a compromise for senators and House members.
“There are some in both bodies that thought we should eliminate all possibility of borrowing,” she said.
The bonds would essentially be low-interest debt. The state could use that money to invest. If investment returns were higher than the bonds’ rate, the state would save money.
The House passed the bill on Saturday and the Senate agreed Monday to changes the House made.
- Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium is continuing forward in acquiring Wrangell’s hospital. The Native nonprofit plans to build and operate a new hospital in the island town within the next three years.
- The measure, modeled on similar rules enacted in Anchorage last year, could make it easier for Alaskans to know how much they’re going to pay out of pocket for healthcare.
- The police chief recently named to the board that regulates Alaska's legal marijuana industry says the fight that has long been waged against pot in this country has been a "waste of time" and law enforcement resources.
- To beautify and dry out a wet section of your yard, Master Gardener Ed Buyarski recommends ligularia, primose, highbush cranberry, dogwood, cottonwood, and willow.