22nd Alaska State Legislature
News from the House Majority

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House OKs Fast-Track Supplemental Budget
Funds ANWR, Gas Pipeline, Special Olympics, Pioneers Homes

For Immediate Release:

February 16, 2001


Representative Eldon Mulder at (907) 465-2647
Representative Bill Williams at (907) 465-3424

(JUNEAU) - The House today passed a "fast-track" supplemental budget bill providing for $4.8 million in state funding to support oil and gas development, redraw election districts, host the 2001 Special Olympics, fund primary elections, hire Pioneers Home nurses and cover other time-sensitive expenses.

The top expense contained in House Bill 117 was $1.5 million for Arctic Power, an organization lobbying to build public support for allowing oil exploration in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. A swift infusion of state funds to match private donations could help Alaska take advantage of the opportunity to win Congressional passage of an ANWR measure this spring.

"Our Congressional delegation has asked us to assist Arctic Power, because the next six months are critical if they are to be successful in lobbying congress to get ANWR opened in the coming session," Rep. Eldon Mulder (R-Anchorage) co-chair of the House Finance Committee, said on the House floor.

As passed by the House, general fund expenses in HB 117 also include:

  • $608,000 for the state redistricting board, which is responsible for redrawing state House and Senate district borders within 90 days after new federal census figures are released this spring
  • $600,000 to help state government agencies start doing the advance work necessary to quickly approve permits to build a pipeline to deliver North Slope natural gas to a hungry market
  • $500,000 to the 2001 Special Olympic World Winter Games, for feeding and lodging 10,000 athletes and visitors expected to come to Anchorage in March
  • $252,000 to the Division of Elections, which had unanticipated expenses after a Supreme Court ruling led to a need to prepare, print and offer two separate ballots in last year's primary election
  • $195,000 to hire skilled nurses at the Anchorage, Juneau and Sitka Pioneers Homes and avoid critical staff vacancies caused by lower-than-market-level wages for nurses at the Homes
  • $639,000 for debt service expenses, to repay state bonds already approved by voters

The Legislature allowed for up to $16 million in supplemental spending in Fiscal Year 2001, which ends June 30. By restricting the fast-track measure to truly time-sensitive items, the Legislature will have more time to consider the governor's regular supplemental request, expected later in the session.

Including increased federal spending for Medicare, low-income heating assistance and other expenditures, HB 117 authorizes $27.4 million in supplementary FY 01 spending. The bill moves next to the Senate.

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= Eldon Mulder, 64 K

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