The state House is getting ready to vote on its first budget bill of the 2018 session, which could reach the House floor as early as Monday.

It’s called a fast-track supplemental bill and it’s designed to take care of funding shortfalls or one-time appropriations.

This supplemental appropriates about $68 million, which includes a $25 million savings to a state insurance program.

Some of the funding includes:

  • $23.9 million for the Alaska Marine Highway System
  • $30 million for state’s community assistance program
  • $20 mililon for the state Department of Corrections
  • $5 million for the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.

“The benefit of this is that it gets some of this stuff off the table,” said House Finance co-chair Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer). “It also gets some cooperation (from) the two bodies and the minorities. It's something we can all agree on. Let’s get rid of that and then go forward.”

Rep. Tammie Wilson (R-Fairbanks) disagrees, however. A minority member of the House Finance Committee, she questions the need for a separate bill, saying it could easily be rolled into the larger operating budget.

“We need to have one appropriation bill, so we can have one conference committee and get out of here in 90 days,” Wilson said. “I think we’re putting in so many pieces and splintering it that it will take more time than less.”

The bill -- H.B. 321 -- is scheduled for a vote on Monday, though it was already postponed once this week.

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