Meyer wants to finish started projects

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 29, 2013 at 6:24 pm •  Published: January 29, 2013
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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee said Tuesday that he would like the state to finish capital projects before funding new ones.

Sen. Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage, told reporters that is his own goal and said he hasn't spoken with the House Finance co-chair or Senate colleagues about it.

The Legislative Finance Division, in an overview of Gov. Sean Parnell's budget proposal for next fiscal year, said partial funding of projects, something that has been done in recent years, "may come back to haunt" the governor and future legislators.

The report said partial funding can increase project costs "by adding uncertainty to project management and by splitting the bidding process." It said the approach also can limit discretion for future spending because part of the money available in any given year will be tagged for projects already under way.

Leaders of both the House and Senate have said they want to rein in spending amid continued forecasts of declining oil production and current spending levels that many deem to be unsustainable. Alaska relies heavily on oil revenues to run.

Meyer said he doesn't know how much money will be available for a capital budget this year, depending on how much is spent on the operating side. Parnell has proposed a $1.8 billion plan, $1.1 billion less than last year, leaving room for legislators to make some additions or changes. Parnell has called on legislators to agree to an overall spending limit but hasn't yet specified one publicly.

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