Alaska House falls one vote short of funding capital budget, with re-vote planned

Rep. Sara Rasmussen, R-Anchorage, speaks during a House floor session in March. On Monday, she spoke in favor of a bill funding the capital budget. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

The Alaska House of Representatives failed to fund the capital budget for the second day in a row on Monday. But funding Senate Bill 2002 fell short by only one vote, and House leaders plan another vote on the measure later this month.

All 23 House majority members and five minority-caucus Republicans voted to fund the capital budget by drawing from a state savings account, the Constitutional Budget Reserve, or CBR. Anchorage Republican Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, who isn’t in a caucus, also voted for it.

Rep. Sara Rasmussen was among those who voted for it. She’s an Anchorage Republican in the minority caucus.

“Funding this budget through the CBR is not the path I would have personally chosen,” she said. “With little compromise reached in the last month, I feel that the best path forward for all Alaskans — and specifically my neighbors in Sand Lake who have reached out to me — is to support funding the capital budget, including almost $1 billion of federal match.”

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But seven minority-caucus Republicans voted against it and four were absent. That left the bill one vote short of 30 votes — or three-quarters of the chamber. That’s the threshold the state constitution requires to approve a draw from the CBR.

Opponents of the draw say they’re concerned about a provision that would allow the reserve to fund future spending bills this session.

Wasilla Republican Rep. David Eastman said this takes power away from the minority, since future bills won’t require 30 votes.

“I understand that if it’s a majority vote only, my vote will not be considered and my district will not be represented, so I will be a no vote today,” he said.

House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, a Dillingham independent, said the House will vote on the bill again this month.


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