By Dave Donaldson
Governor Parnell is focusing much of his legislative push this year on putting more Alaskans to work. And one of the major proposals he’s put before the legislature is a bill that would begin a five-year plan to repair state-owned facilities.
Director of Management and Budget Karen Rehfeld, describing the plan, told Senate Finance Committee members this week that the administration has identified a $1.9-Billion backlog in maintenance work in more than two thousand state facilities.
Jack Kreinheder with O-M-B told lawmakers that Dr. Scott Goldsmith of the Institute for Social and Economic Research has done a study of how the projects would effect the workforce. He said Dr. Goldsmith based the study on a hundred million dollars a year in contract jobs.
The direct jobs that he would estimate to be created would be about seven hundred direct jobs. I should note that’s on an annual average basis so there could be more people hired — if people are hired for a six-month job it could be more than that seven hundred. Counting the multiplier effects of that money being re-spent in the economy, would be about eleven hundred jobs.
Finance Co-chair Bert Stedman said the state is seeing the effects of years of lower budgets and especially, a sixty percent cutback in maintenance spending last year.
The Chickens are coming home to roost and we’re trying to catch up on that. But not only do we have to go back and clean up from those tighter years financially, but that also hinders our ability to move the state forward to build infrastructure for the next generation.
The governor has asked for quick action on the bill from both the House and Senate so workers can get on the jobs this construction season.