‘There is still a chance to pass this budget, which is absolutely essential to our citizens and economy’
JUNEAU – Sunday, all 23 members of the Alaska House Majority voted to pass legislation that would fund the capital budget ahead of a key July 31 deadline, part of an effort to prevent the state and private sector from missing out on nearly $1 billion in federal funding.
Senate Bill 2002 – which passed the Senate 19-0 yesterday – would also restore funding to programs that provide university scholarships to 12,000 students, keep rural energy rates down through Power Cost Equalization, finance state efforts to prevent oil spills, and provide life-saving vaccines to Alaskans. These programs and many others were zeroed out in an unprecedented move by the governor.
Unfortunately, eight members of the Republican minority prevented the bill from receiving the supermajority vote needed to fund the capital budget. The vote was 25-to-8, as seven members of the minority were not in attendance.
Sunday’s vote was not final. A reconsideration vote will be held on Monday, with a floor session scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.
“The capital budget bill that failed to receive a three-quarter supermajority vote today is completely separate from debate surrounding the Permanent Fund and the amount of this year’s dividend,” House Speaker Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham) said. “We urge every member absent today to return to Juneau for a reconsideration vote and to set aside the issues that have been unnecessarily dragged into this politically charged debate. There is still a chance to pass this budget, which is absolutely essential to our citizens and economy.”