As Capital Budget Work Begins, A Call For Lower Expectations

As the Legislature digs into the capital budget, a leader of the Senate’s finance committee is advising that discretionary spending will be kept to a minimum.

At a Monday hearing, Co-chair Anna MacKinnon said the Legislature had already received more than $1 billion in capital requests from communities and organization. Of those, only health and public safety projects will get priority considerations.

“I would like to lower the expectations of the general public with what we can do in regard to the capital budget this year,” said MacKinnon.

The Eagle River Republican added that projects that come with matching funds might also fare better in a year where the state is facing a $3.5 billion deficit.

The capital budget submitted by Gov. Bill Walker to the Legislature appropriates $150 million from the state’s unrestricted general fund. The previous capital budget spent $600 million from that fund.