House OKs savings plan for surplus

Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2008

JUNEAU - The state House agreed Tuesday to ask voters if they would approve a plan to stash surplus oil revenues in an income-generating endowment.

The measure, sponsored by Anchorage Republican Ralph Samuels, would sink all of the windfall profits from a new surcharge tax on oil into the state's savings account, the Constitutional Budget Reserve.

It would be invested to spin off revenue. Lawmakers could spend no more than 5 percent of the fund's value each year.

It would require amending the constitution, which needs a vote of the people.

Opponents said the state could be in a financial bind without the savings account if oil prices fall.

The measure passed 30-7. It now goes to the Senate after possible reconsideration by the House.

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