Representative John Lincoln
Special Committee on Energy
Special Committee on Arctic Policy, Economic Development and Tourism
Chief of Staff
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Alaska State Capitol
Juneau, AK 99801
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Senator Lisa Murkowski
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Senator Dan Sullivan
Congressman Don Young
Office of the Governor
30th Alaska Legislature
June 13, 2018
LEGISLATURE FINISHES ITS WORK
After 117 days, the legislative session is over, and there wasn’t a day that I didn’t think of our district and our needs. Thank you for your support this session. Now that I am home, I hope to visit and talk with you to learn more about your desires for state government.
We accomplished a lot this session, including:
- More funding for public schools; $20 million shared statewide.
- Increased public safety staffing, including more prosecutors.
- More money for the university system after too many years of budget cuts.
- Funding to hire 20 additional staff to process Medicaid and food stamp applications. The public has waited too long to receive this essential assistance.
- And we approved a Permanent Fund dividend for this fall that will be $500 more than last year, adding an additional $300 million to the Alaska economy.
PROTECTING THE PERMANENT FUND
We took a significant step toward a sustainable, long-term fiscal plan for Alaska by approving a limit on annual withdrawals from Permanent Fund earnings. These earnings will pay for schools, essential public services, and the annual dividend for Alaskans. Capping the draw on earnings will protect the fund and allow it to grow — so it can provide for essential services and the dividends far into the future.
The legislature amended state law to restrict annual withdrawals from Permanent Fund earnings to no more than 5.25% of a five-year average of the fund’s total market value, And, to be cautious, the legislation drops that number to 5% after he first three years, just to make sure we don’t take too much from the fund. This limited annual draw is modeled after endowment models used at major universities, philanthropies, and sovereign wealth funds worldwide.
While setting this fall’s dividend at $1,600 per person, the legislature left open the amount for future years.
We succeeded in winning legislative support to extend the deadline for the Northwest Arctic Borough to secure the local match requirement for the new K-12 school at Kivalina. The deadline was this summer, but the borough cannot move on its share of the school construction funding until a road is funded to the new school site, away from the threat of shoreline erosion and storms. The legislation (House Bill 135) allows the state education commissioner to grant more time for a local government to put up its matching share, if it can show good cause. Waiting on the road certainly qualifies as good cause.
Meanwhile, there is progress on the 8-mile road. The Alaska Department of Transportation issued its final environmental impact statement on the road in January, finding no significant environmental impact. On April 3, the department advertised for a contractor to assist in design development and to perform subsequent construction of the Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Access Road. Proposals were due May 1, and the department is looking to select a contractor and begin the pre-construction services contract later this month. Construction start-up is expected in 2019.
After the road is built, the Alaska Municipal Bond Bank Authority will issue $12.7 million in bonds on behalf of the Northwest Arctic Borough to fully provide the local match for the Kivalina school.
We are getting close to the road and new school for the students and families of Kivalina.
The legislature funded several important projects in our district, including $10.6 million for the Allakaket K-12 school renovation project.
Almost $12 million in federal dollars — the state’s estimated share of federal lease revenues from the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska — were appropriated under the Alaska Impact Grant Program for:
- North Slope Borough community winter access trails: $3,576,798
- North Slope Borough waterfowl monitoring program in NPR-A: $337,550
- North Slope Borough air quality study: $1,187,500
- North Slope Borough nearshore fish and fish habitat monitoring in NPR-A: $562,500.
- North Slope Borough monitoring fish in the Colville River for the presence of water mold: $187,500.
- City of Nuiqsut local government operations and maintenance: $949,203
- City of Nuiqsut youth center operations and maintenance: $267,826
- City of Nuiqsut Kisik Center maintenance project: $192,035
- City of Wainwright local government operations: $499,251
- City of Wainwright youth program: $289,272
- City of Utqiagvik local government operations: $1,890,000
- City of Utqiagvik repair of the city shop floor: $160,000
- City of Utqiagvik purchase of a new loader: $400,000
- City of Utqiagvik purchase of a new tent for the hockey facility: $147,690
- City of Anaktuvuk Pass local operations and community center upgrades: $571,536
- City of Atqasuk local government operations and youth program: $393,061.
NORTHWEST ARCTIC BOROUGH and RED DOG
We succeeded in winning legislative approval to continue a provision in statute governing how the state calculates the Northwest Arctic Borough’s required minimum contribution to local schools. The statute exempts the value of the state-owned Delong Mountain Transportation System (the road and port used by the Red Dog Mine) from that calculation. The exemption has been in place since 2000. It expired late last year, and the legislature this session renewed and extended it to 2027. Though the borough has no property tax — and could not tax the state-owned property even if it had a tax — the value of the road and port to the mine operator would have been factored into the minimum local payment calculation. If the legislature failed to approve House Bill 119, $800,000 in school funding from the state would be cut.
BAN ON SMOKING IN PUBLIC PLACES
After many years of debate, the legislature passed Senate Bill 63, which bans smoking in all enclosed public places statewide. The ban applies to stores, bars, restaurants, office buildings, government buildings, schools, common areas of apartment buildings, hotels and motels, and other locations. The ban applies to tobacco, e-cigarettes and marijuana. After it is signed into law by the governor, the smoking ban will take effect Oct. 1, 2018.
CALL OR EMAIL ME ANYTIME
I am in office to work for you and your community. Please call me at 907-269-0162 or 888-288-3473 or email at Rep.John.Lincoln@akleg.gov. My staff and I will do our best to help.
Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter.
Representative John Lincoln
Toll free: 888-288-3473