The capital budget finally showed up in House Finance Committee today, but it came in the form of a committee substitute that baffled committee members, since few, if any of them had seen it before.
Even the Senate Finance majority members had not seen the Wilson House Committee Substitute.
Rep. Tammie Wilson, co-chair of House Finance in charge of shepherding the capital budget along, put $10 million more toward addiction treatment, $4 million toward the Interior Energy Project. In another move sure to surprise, she used $16 million from the Power Cost Equalization monies to open up the Palmer prison. That’s money that belongs to rural Alaska.
Wilson also swapped out the General Fund monies and replaced them with a new funding source: The Constitutional Budget Reserve Fund, which requires a 3/4 vote to tap into. It’s a poison pill for the Capital budget, and is not likely to get friendly treatment in the Senate.
Wilson has taken a fairly uncontroversial capital budget and made it so controversial that the floor session schedule for earlier today has been cancelled. It appears that she has irritated the Democrat-led House Majority, where she enjoys a leadership position.
Observers in the Capitol said that the chaos the committee substitute has caused will likely result in no capital budget being passed before session ends on June 15. That would mean another special session would have to be called to pass the capital budget and Permanent Fund dividend bill.
This story is developing.