22nd Alaska State Legislature
News from the House Finance Committee
Representative Eldon Mulder, Co-Chair
Representative Bill Williams, Co-Chair

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Rep. Eldon Mulder
State Capitol, Room 507
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-2647
Fax: (907) 465-3518

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Rep. Bill Williams
State Capitol, Room 511
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-3424
Fax: (907) 465-3793

House Authorizes Tobacco-Backed Bonds
HB 234 Finances Schools, Ports, Anti-Tobacco Program

Released: April 28, 2001
Contact: Representative Eldon Mulder at (907) 465-2647
Representative Bill Williams at (907) 465-3424

(JUNEAU) – The House today passed a bond package providing $127.5 million for schools, the University of Alaska and ports and harbors, and $5 million to $8 million per year for tobacco cessation programs.

Sponsored by the House Finance Committee, House Bill 234 would authorize the state to sell bonds secured by the state’s share of anticipated tobacco settlement revenue, and use the proceeds for vital state functions, said Rep. Bill Williams (R-Saxman), co-chair of the House Finance Committee.

"This is a creative financing tool that lets us address many of Alaskans’ most pressing needs," Williams said. "Our children need good schools, our universities need modern facilities, our boaters need safe ports, and all too-many people need help to become tobacco-free. HB 234 offers a means to help them all."

Proceeds from bond sales by the state’s Northern Tobacco Securitization Corporation (NTSC), a subsidiary of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, would be used in three general areas:

Public schools: The bill would provide $67.8 million for statewide school construction and maintenance, including $29.1 million to replace the dilapidated school in Togiak; $9.8 million for school construction in Golovin; $7 million for upgrades to the Juneau-Douglas high school; $8.3 million for a new roof at the Shishmaref school; and 12 other school projects.

University of Alaska: The bill would direct $24.5 million to the university, covering $13 million to buy and renovate facilities for the University of Alaska-Anchorage; $8 million to build a museum at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks; $2 million to complete classrooms at the University of Alaska-Southeast’s Juneau campus; and $1.5 million for work on a vocational rehabilitation facility at UAS-Ketchikan.

Ports and harbors: The bill would provide $35 million for deferred maintenance to state-owned harbors and port facilities, so local communities can accept ownership and responsibility for them. The projects include projects at Ketchikan, Cordova, Sitka, Petersburg, Wrangell, Valdez, Seldovia, Whittier, Nome, Adak and other communities.

The bill would also set up a program to use the remainder of the state’s unencumbered tobacco settlement money to provide from about $5 million to $8 million each year on various programs to discourage tobacco use in Alaska, said Rep. Con Bunde (R-Anchorage), vice-chair of the Finance Committee.

"The whole justification for the tobacco settlement was to reimburse the state for the cost of treating tobacco-caused illnesses," said Bunde. "By using a significant portion of that money to try to keep Alaskans from getting hooked on tobacco in the first place, we’ll be giving Alaskans the chance to enjoy longer, healthier lives."

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