Senate Awards Financial Help to Governments, Schools Facing High Fuel Prices

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

Local governments and schools would get extra financial help when they face high fuel prices under a bill that passed the Senate Friday.

The measure ties Municipal Revenue Sharing and the Base Student Allocation to oil prices that are more than anticipated when the budget was written.

In presenting the measure to the Senate, Senate Finance Co-chair Lyman Hoffman said the idea came from local residents who complained they couldn’t provide services because of high oil prices.

Hoffman explained that a $1 increase in the annual average price of oil results in an extra $100 million in state revenue.   He said the previous year’s average oil price is the base for the amount of the supplement – with schools and communities sharing an extra $5 million for every dollar above that amount.

As an example of the impact of the supplement, he said for this current year, local schools would share about twenty million dollars.

The measure passed on a 19 to one vote. The full program would go into effect next year but an equivalent amount of money has been included in the Senate’s version of the operating budget that passed today.

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