House OKs Fast-Track Supplemental Budget
(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:
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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Audio comments are available on the Majority Actuality line: