Legislature(2019 - 2020)

2019-01-30 Senate Journal

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2019-01-30                     Senate Journal                      Page 0149
SJR 6                                                                                                                         
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 6 BY THE SENATE RULES                                                                               
COMMITTEE BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR,                                                                                           
          Proposing amendments to the Constitution of the                                                                       
          State of Alaska relating to an appropriation limit;                                                                   
          relating to the budget reserve fund and establishing                                                                  
          the savings reserve fund; and relating to the                                                                         
          permanent fund.                                                                                                       
was read the first time and referred to the State Affairs, Judiciary and                                                        
Finance Committees.                                                                                                             
The following fiscal information was published today:                                                                           
 Fiscal Note No. 1, zero, Office of the Governor                                                                                
Governor's transmittal letter dated January 29:                                                                                 
Dear President Giessel:                                                                                                         
Under the authority of Article III, Section 18, of the Alaska                                                                   
Constitution, I am transmitting a bill proposing a resolution to amend                                                          
the Constitution of the State of Alaska, Article IX, Sections 16 and 17.                                                        
The proposed amendment would establish a baseline for a                                                                         
constitutional appropriation limit so that appropriations for a fiscal                                                          

2019-01-30                     Senate Journal                      Page 0150
year would not exceed the average of the appropriations for the last                                                            
three fiscal years plus 50 percent of inflation and population or two                                                           
percent, whichever is less. The amendment includes exemptions from                                                              
the limit for certain purposes, such as money deposited into the                                                                
permanent fund, the permanent fund dividend program, money to pay                                                               
general obligation and revenue bond proceeds, money of trust funds,                                                             
and the appropriation of federal funds.                                                                                         
Additionally, the proposed amendment implements a constitutional                                                                
savings plan that would transfer the unexpended, unobligated and                                                                
unappropriated balance in the general fund at the end of a fiscal year                                                          
first, to the Alaska Permanent Fund and second, to a savings reserve                                                            
fund. The savings reserve fund may be allowed to grow until the                                                                 
balance is equal to the appropriation limit for the next fiscal year.                                                           
After that, all surplus revenue would be deposited in the Alaska                                                                
Permanent Fund.                                                                                                                 
We must develop a budget that is stable, predictable, and sustainable if                                                        
we are to place our state on a trajectory for economic growth and                                                               
future success. This amendment provides an important mechanism for                                                              
the people of Alaska to curb the growth of future government                                                                    
spending. This amendment respects the intent of voters who choose to                                                            
restrict the size of their government by lowering the constitutional                                                            
appropriation limit amount and tying future appropriations to those                                                             
made in the previous fiscal year. This amendment will ensure that                                                               
when government collects more revenue than it needs to fund essential                                                           
state services, the surplus revenue is saved for the future – not spent on                                                      
growing government as in the past.                                                                                              
This resolution is a powerful but simple way to structurally reduce and                                                         
cap government growth and implement a savings plan. I urge your                                                                 
prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                                                                    
Michael J. Dunleavy