News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Majority Office
For Immediate Release: March 23, 2018

Senate Passes State Spending Limit

Office_stamp.jpgMajority Press Office
  ~ Send Email
  ~ Web Site

JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today passed a bill to limit the growth of state spending.  

SB 196, sponsored by the Senate Finance Committee, caps unrestricted general fund (UGF) spending at $4.1 billion.   

“Alaska must control its spending in order to refill our savings accounts and sustain constitutionally required programs Alaskans rely on in their everyday lives,” said Senate Majority Leader Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna). “Senate Bill 196 will help constrain the growth of government, so in the future we don’t find ourselves in the same difficult fiscal situation we face today.”

The spending limit is a key priority for the Senate Majority. The Senate passed a spending limit in 2017 paired with a bill that placed guard rails around draws from the Permanent Fund earnings reserve, but the spending limit provision was rejected by the House Majority. This year, the Senate passed the spending limit as a standalone bill to simplify negotiations with the House on a solution to the state’s budget deficit.   

“Had we had an effective spending cap in place during the fiscal years of 2006 through 2014, we would have about $15 billion in our Constitutional Budget Reserve right now,” said Sen. Natasha von Imhof (R-Anchorage). “A spending cap could give the Legislature the discipline it needs to keep state spending at a reasonable level from one year to the next.”

To promote transparency with the public, the bill requires the governor to submit a report, along with the budget, comparing the governor’s spending proposal with the spending limit. In addition, the spending limit adjusts over time to reflect changes in inflation. 

“SB 196 plants a seed for a future tree of fiscal sustainability for Alaskans,” said Sen. Micciche. “Had the Legislature passed this bill 15 years ago, we would have billions more in savings, new taxes would not be a primary objective for the current House Majority, and it’s unlikely the governor would have cut Permanent Fund dividends.”

The limit does not apply to appropriations to the Alaska Permanent Fund, payments for Permanent Fund dividends, required spending for state debt obligations, capital projects, or to meet a state of disaster declared by the governor as prescribed by law. The bill also has a three year “look back” provision to evaluate how the limit is working.

SB 196 passed the Senate by a vote of 13 to zero after Senate Democrats opposed the bill during the floor debate and chose to not participate in the vote. The bill is now on its way to the Alaska House of Representatives for consideration.

For more information, contact Senate Majority Press Secretary Daniel McDonald at (907) 465-4066.

###

icon-facebook.png Share Share this on Twitter Tweet

News & Videos more >

Senator Peter Micciche

Legislature Cuts Red Tape for Working Alaskans

JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature today passed a bill to reduce the state’s regulatory burden on barbers, hairdressers, hair braiders and those with student loans....  Full Story >>

Senator Cathy Giessel

Legislature Provides Oversight for Outside Wholesale Drug Distributors

JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature today passed a bill to license out-of-state wholesale drug distributors.  Full Story >>

Senator Kevin Meyer

Legislature Declares September 11 as Patriot Day

JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature today unanimously passed a bill establishing September 11 of each year as Patriot Day.  Full Story >>

Senator Lyman Hoffman

Senate Expands Access to Virtual Education for Alaska Students

JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today passed a bill to boost the minimum Internet speed for Alaska’s K-12 students, expanding access to virtual education across the state....  Full Story >>

Senator John Coghill

Senate Reaffirms Commitment to Alaska’s Statehood Rights

JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today reaffirmed its commitment to supporting Alaska’s statehood rights.  Full Story >>

Senator Anna MacKinnon

Senate Advances Series of Bills to Improve Education in Alaska

JUNEAU – In the midst of declining test scores and school enrollment, rising healthcare costs, and struggles with teacher retention and morale, the Alaska Senate today advanced a...  Full Story >>

Senator Kevin Meyer

Legislature Proclaims April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month

JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature today unanimously approved a resolution proclaiming April 2018 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  Full Story >>

Senator Lyman Hoffman

Senate Passes State Operating Budget

JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today passed the state operating budget for Fiscal Year 2019, totaling $3.2 billion in unrestricted general funds (UGF) for agency and statewide operations....  Full Story >>

Senator Pete Kelly

Senate Restores Access to Private Property in Dalton Highway Corridor

JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today unanimously passed a bill to restore access rights to private homesteaded property owners in the James Dalton Highway corridor....  Full Story >>

Senator Pete Kelly

Senate Approves Bill to Curb Prenatal Alcohol & Drug Exposure

JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today unanimously passed a bill to help curb the epidemic of prenatal drug and alcohol exposure in Alaska.  Full Story >>

Find your Senator full map