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State capital spending would be down slightly in Senate plan

Sen. Anna Mackinnon, R-Eagle River, chairs the Senate Finance Committee in the Alaska Capitol on Wednesday. The committee introduced its version of the capital budget on Wednesday and heard public testimony on it on Thursday. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

The Senate Finance Committee has proposed a capital budget that would $1.43 billion for the coming year. It’s $42 million less than this year.

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The capital budget would fund scores of projects across the state, from road maintenance to clearing a backlog in sexual assault evidence kits.

The Senate proposal is $270 million less than that proposed by Gov. Bill Walker. But Walker proposed a tax on wages to pay for maintenance on state facilities that’s been deferred. And the Senate plan doesn’t include the tax.

The committee heard public testimony on the proposal Thursday. Tourism industry representatives asked the committee to restore $3 million in tourism marketing that Walker had proposed and the Senate cut.

Robert Terrazas of Anchorage owns a small tour business. He said the marketing money is important. It’s used by the Alaska Travel Industry Association to drive traffic to the website TravelAlaska.com and to assist tour operators.

“The $3 million that the state invests in having people come to us is well spent,” Terrazas said.

Other members of the public asked for more funding for Medicaid and for community public safety patrols.

Committee Co-Chairwoman Anna MacKinnon, an Eagle River Republican, said the committee would consider the public comments.

Of the Senate capital budget proposal, $139 million would be undesignated general funds, the category of state spending the Legislature focuses on each year. Another $174 million would be in other categories of state spending, and $1.1 billion would come from the federal government.


Source: npr

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