Parnell announces $12.8B proposed state budget

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm •  Published: December 14, 2012
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He proposed adding 15 Alaska State Troopers in the Railbelt, divided equally between Fairbanks, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and the Kenai Peninsula, and village safety officers in 15 more communities that have no law enforcement presence. He also wants to add prosecutors and investigators in Bethel, Fairbanks and Juneau to pursue child sexual abuse cases and sex trafficking cases.

The budget proposes $531 million for state energy projects, including $95 million for field work toward a federal license for the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project. A dam and other infrastructure earlier this year was estimated at $4.3 billion. Parnell said a milestone was reached Friday when a study plan was filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Parnell offered no change in the K-12 student base funding formula but proposed $25 million to help school districts deal with higher energy costs. He proposed $68 million for new schools for two southwest Alaska villages, Nightmute and Quinhagak, plus 12 major maintenance projects.

He included $50 million for natural gas pipeline development, split evenly between reimbursement for companies working on a major line under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act and the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.

Parnell proposed more than $1 billion in road, airport and ferry spending, including $8.5 million for the Ambler Mining District road, $7 million for the Dalton Highway and $2 million for the Department of Transportation to identify corridors to timber and mineral deposits as part of the "Roads to Resources" program. He included $10 million for a fund for the Knik Arm bridge. The fund built up over time could eventually leverage 30-year tax-exempt financing for the proposed bridge between Anchorage and the Mat-Su Borough, he said.