Legislature(2017 - 2018)

2018-06-27 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2018-06-27                     House Journal                      Page 3846
HB 286                                                                                                                        
The following letter dated June 13 was received June 15 at 12:58 p.m.:                                                          
"Dear Speaker Edgmon:                                                                                                           
I have signed, with line item vetoes, the following bill passed during                                                          
the second session of the Thirtieth Alaska State Legislature and am                                                             
transmitting the engrossed and enrolled copies to the Lieutenant                                                                
Governor's Office for permanent filing:                                                                                         
     CONFERENCE CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 286                                                                                       
     "An Act making appropriations for the operating and loan                                                                   
     program expenses of state government and for certain programs;                                                             
     capitalizing funds; amending appropriations; making                                                                        
     supplemental appropriations; making appropriations under art. IX,                                                          
     sec. 17(c), Constitution of the State of Alaska, from the                                                                  
     constitutional budget reserve fund; and providing for an effective                                                         

2018-06-27                     House Journal                      Page 3847
     Chapter No. 17, SLA 2018                                                                                                   
     [Effective Date:  See Chapter]                                                                                             
As passed by the Legislature, CCS HB 286 contains a total of $9.4                                                               
billion, including $5.2 billion in unrestricted general fund                                                                    
appropriations for FY2018 and FY2019. This total includes $1.0                                                                  
billion for a dividend of $1,600 to every Alaskan.                                                                              
The passage of SB26, allowing for a sustainable draw from the                                                                   
Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve, is a critical component of making                                                              
these operating budget appropriations possible. I commend you and                                                               
your fellow legislators on working together with my staff to solve 80                                                           
percent of the state deficit over the past 3 years. While significant                                                           
progress has been made in closing the fiscal gap, an ongoing deficit is                                                         
projected and the state will continue to face budget constraints.                                                               
I am encouraged to see even under the constrained budget that many                                                              
priorities such as public safety investments and modest education                                                               
increases for both K-12 and the university education are included in                                                            
the budget. As a result, I have made limited use of my line item veto                                                           
power. In order for the State of Alaska to emerge successfully from                                                             
this fiscal crisis, the principles of a sustainable draw from the earnings                                                      
reserve – as laid out in the Permanent Fund Protection Act (SB26) –                                                             
must never be violated. Section 30 of this bill allowed for a situation                                                         
that would have abandoned those principles and drawn from the                                                                   
Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve at a level far beyond what is                                                                   
sustainable for the future security of the state and the dividend                                                               
program. Although a three-quarter super majority vote was secured to                                                            
avoid the overdraw, merely including a mechanism that allows for an                                                             
overdraw is unacceptable for Alaska's future and a precedent that                                                               
cannot be set.                                                                                                                  
Additionally, I have vetoed one item added during the legislative                                                               
process: $499.0 thousand for a study on vitamin D by the University                                                             
of Alaska. While the intention of this study has merit, similar research                                                        
is currently in progress. A new study should be postponed until                                                                 
ongoing research is completed and the conclusions are understood.                                                               
My administration remains committed to providing any assistance                                                                 
necessary to enact the remaining tenets of a long-term, sustainable                                                             
fiscal plan that is balanced and fair. Remaining savings, after the $14.5                                                       

2018-06-27                     House Journal                      Page 3848
billion drawn since 2013, will not last long and all Alaskans need to                                                           
embrace a vision for the state that provides priority government                                                                
services, maintains infrastructure in a state of good repair, educates                                                          
our children and creates an environment where businesses want to                                                                
invest in and grow the economy.                                                                                                 
I appreciate that Alaskans and investors now have greater certainty                                                             
and confidence in Alaska's future.                                                                                              
Bill Walker