The first of the 90 days allowed for this year’s legislative session on Tuesday passed quietly, mostly with ceremony and formalities that have to be dealt with. Presiding officers read new legislation into the record and made committee reassignments as members prepared for a reception this evening at the governor’s house. Lawmakers had their first look at their own staff’s analysis of the budget that Governor Parnell proposed last month. The 168-page report points to ten Billion dollars in readily available cash held in reserve right now. And it highlights expected revenue surpluses for this current year and next year. However, the report also points to concerns about the long-term future — particularly declines in oil production, volatile prices and uncertainty of the development of a gas line. The bottom line is the often-stated fear that current budget expenditures may not be sustainable.
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
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