Cost to move Legislature could be up to $45M if state builds office, analysts find

Snow falls on the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau on Feb. 18. Nonpartisan budget analysts estimate it would cost anywhere from less than $3 million in the first year to nearly $45 million to move the Legislature to Anchorage. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

Moving the Legislature from Juneau to Anchorage could cost anywhere from a little less than $3 million the first year to nearly $45 million. That’s according to a report by the state Office of Management and Budget.

A group is aiming to have a ballot measure next year to move the Legislature to Anchorage.

The wide range in costs depends on whether the state builds new office space for legislative staff or rents space, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Affairs Agency. The estimated cost to rent is at least $460,000 per year, not including remodeling. The cost to build space could be $42 million.

The report does not consider the economic and social costs to Juneau and Southeast Alaska. And it doesn’t consider the cost of maintaining empty state office space in Juneau.

Another group has formed to oppose the ballot measure. A previous attempt to move the Legislature to Matanuska-Susitna Borough failed, as have four ballot measures to move the entire capital. Voters approved moving the capital in 1974, but declined to spend the money for it four years later.