Gov. Mike Dunleavy said Alaskans could have a big role in future state spending — if the Legislature affords that voice at the polls.

Dunleavy has said he will reprise his efforts to get a state spending limit written in the constitution, an effort he shared with the Anchorage Chamber in its Make it Monday luncheon.

Earlier this year, Dunleavy introduced three constitutional amendment proposals. On Monday, without naming the legislation, he spoke of Senate Joint Resolution 6 and House Joint Resolution 7.

Each bill calls for creating a spending cap that permits minimal increases proposed.

HJR 7 remains in the House State Affairs Committee and must clear the House Judiciary and House Finance committees before getting to a floor vote.

SJR 6 is closer to a floor vote, having cleared the Senate State Affairs and Judiciary committees. It now awaits the Senate Finance Committee’s review and vote.

“We need to come to the realization, I believe, that if we come into the [200,000] to 300,000 more barrels of oil and if we come into the associated revenue and wealth with that, the chances are, if history teaches us anything, we're going to spend it,” he said to packed house at a Dena’ina Center conference room. “And if we spend it we're going to grow the programs and we’re going to be back exactly where we are today.”

Getting legislative support requires clearing a high bar. For it to happen, Dunleavy will need two-thirds support from each chamber rather than a simple majority from the House and Senate.

Dunleavy also said he would like to see Alaska’s economy diversify, but stressed it remains a resource state and must be allowed to follow that path.

Dunleavy said economic indicators over the last year provide glimpses of optimism:


Dunleavy reminded the crowd how unemployment fell to record low 6.1% in November after holding steady at 6.2% for three months. Dunleavy said he believes that number could continue to drop if investment into the North Slope continues.

Gross domestic product

Alaska ranked third nationally with a second-quarter GDP of 4.1%. That’s up from 1.8% in the first quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Third quarter GDP will be announced next month.

State personal income

According to the BEA, state personal income rose 4.4% in the first quarter, fell slightly to 4.3% in the second quarter before taking a huge hit and falling to 2.3% in the third quarter.

Dunleavy said he plans on spending next month meeting with a broad cross section of groups seeking input on his proposed state budget. Details are still pending.

Session begins Jan. 21.

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