We provide an update of the FY 2016 budgets actions (second item this page).

Repsol has laid out its plans for development of new oil discoveries in the Colville River delta. In an application filed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers June 15, the company has proposed construction of three drill sites, an operations center pad and pipelines sufficient to support 60,000 barrels per day of oil production. Once approved, the project would take about three and a half years to construct and would include 76 production and injection wells, a 150-bed operations camp as well as warehouses and maintenance buildings.

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After all the wrangling over the state budget and extended legislative session and two special sessions, how much of the budget was really cut? Not much, it turns out. The figures are still being tallied but according to the Legislative Finance Division, the professional, and nonpartisan, financial analysis arm of the Legislature, the net state operating general fund reduction in Fiscal Year 2016 over the current FY 2015 is $161.23 million. The reduction in state agency budgets is estimated at $358.66 million, but when nexpenses like debt service on bonds and payments topension funds, which are obligated (and higher in FY 2016), then the savings shrinks.

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Gov. Bill Walker and House Speaker Mike Chenault are working to bury the hatchet, Chenault said Thursday morning (March 5). House leaders and the governor met for lunch on Wednesday and Walker invited Chenault for breakfast at the Governor’s Mansion Thurday morning for a one-on-one. The morning session was cordial, Chenault said.

Things went south  the relationship, which was already rocky, when Walker flew off the handle in a press conference last week over a bill House leaders introducing placing limits on the governor’s ability to spend money on expanding a state-led gas pipeline, the Alaska Stand-Alone Pipeline, or ASAP.  Walker impuned the character of House leaders, saying “who are they really working for?”, which brought a harsh response from legislators. Chenault said Thursday (March 5) he told the governor during the Wednesday lunch, “don’t ever say something like that again.”  Walker’s outburst the prior week is being laid to a quick temper and impulsiveness.  (See more in our next edition of Legislative Digest next Monday, March 9).

Gov. Bill Walker introduced his long-awaiting FY 2016 operating and capital budgets Thursday. These are the governor’s “amendments” to the existing budget bills before the House and Senate, which are templates based on the budgets developed by former Gov. Sean Parnell. Walker cut $132 million to reductions made in Parnell’s proposal. The total general fund spending reduction from FY 2015 is $240 million.

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