(Juneau) - The Alaska State House of Representatives today unanimously passed a resolution creating a task force to continue the conversation around the state's potential financial outlook.
Our caucus wants to take a reasoned, deliberate and in-depth look at the state's finances as part of our Guiding Principles; the resolution and work of the task force will help us when we come back for the second legislative session.
~ Rep. Alan Austerman
House Concurrent Resolution 12, sponsored by Majority Leader Alan Austerman, R-Kodiak, would create the Task Force on the Fiscal Future of Alaska to make recommendations and propose draft legislation where needed on fiscal policy issues before the legislature.
Leader Austerman says the resolution further reinforces the Majority Caucus's top Guiding Principle for the 27th Alaska Legislature: promoting fiscal responsibility. "The Task Force acknowledges and continues the work of 2010's Fiscal Policy Working Group, made up of Alaskans who share a concern about our state's fiscal future," Austerman said. "We take a lot of steps in the legislature to ensure that our future revenues and ability to provide services that Alaskans value remain intact for future generations. Our caucus wants to take a reasoned, deliberate and in-depth look at the state's finances as part of our Guiding Principles; the resolution and work of the task force will help us when we come back for the second legislative session."
HCR 12 and our new special committee will allow us to keep the finance and revenue lenses focused when we debate budgets and a bill's fiscal impacts.
~ Sen. Anna Fairclough
HCR 12 proposes appointing a 14-person task force, with membership delineated as follows:
- Two senators appointed by the President of the Senate and two representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House
- The Commissioners of Revenue and DOT&PF or their designee
- The OMB Director or her designee
- UAA's Institute of Social & Economic Research Director or his designee
- One person representing Commonwealth North
- One person, appointed jointly by the presiding officers, from each of the following industries: banking, resource development, marketing, economic development
- One person, appointed jointly, from the AK State Chamber of Commerce
The task force would meet through the interim and provide three progress reports to the Legislature before terminating on DEC. 31, 2013.
House Finance Committee Vice-Chair Anna Fairclough, R-Eagle River, who will lead the new special committee on fiscal policy, says the input received by the prior working group was invaluable, and is an essential component of the HCR 12 task force. "This task force creates a way to carry on that dialogue and continue to work in a bipartisan, bicameral way to meet Alaskans needs and expectations," Fairclough said. "Alaska's expect us to spend and save wisely, and for the most part, we do. We save revenues in reserve funds, forward-fund education costs, and pay down debts and manage the operating costs, but sometimes we lose sight - through the fault of no one individual - on the long-term revenue streams and fiscal impacts they can carry. HCR 12 and our new special committee will allow us to keep the finance and revenue lenses focused when we debate budgets and a bill's fiscal impacts."
HCR 12 now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.