Gov. Mike Dunleavy has said he plans to sign Senate Bill 2002, which includes the capital budget and “reverse sweep,” by the end of the week. But which areas of the budget are passed as-is, and which may be reduced through the governor’s line-item veto power, remains to be seen.
Last week, the Legislature passed House Bill 2002, which would fund the $171 million capital budget and approve the restoration of 54 state savings accounts whose funds were swept into the Constitutional Budget Reserve on July 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year.
These included funds for the Power Cost Equalization program, which helps mitigate higher energy costs for communities in rural Alaska, and the Alaska Higher Education Investment Fund, which supports the Alaska Performance Scholarship and other education grants.
The sweeping of these funds at the beginning of the fiscal year left thousands of students without access to promised scholarships.
Austin Baird, a spokesman for House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, said the governor is unlikely to veto the bill because it has enough support to override reductions. The bill gained 51 votes between both the House and the Senate.
In a discussion with reporters last week, Dunleavy noted his appreciation that the Legislature passed the capital budget last week but said he and his team will review the bill and would not confirm whether or not he would veto certain items.
“While I intend to sign SB 2002, I will exercise my line-item veto authority where necessary,” Dunleavy said recently.
The second legislative special session ended Tuesday night. Dunleavy has said he will not immediately call a third special session.
Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMPolitics.