Funding for scholarships, crime bill, other projects could be drained in budget "sweep"

Kenny Knutson / KTUU

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Dozens of savings accounts that must be renewed every fiscal year could be drained after the Legislature failed to pass what is known as a "reverse sweep."

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The funds total as much as $1.6 billion and include the Higher Education Fund, which provides merit scholarships and financial aid to college students, and the Power Cost Equalization Fund, which helps reduce the cost of energy in rural Alaska and was also the source of funding for the recently passed crime bill House Bill 49.

Now that the funds are in limbo, some lawmakers say they are unsure which accounts will be drained.

"There are some accounts that have historically not been swept, and apparently they're going to request to be sweepable, which we don't know which ones they are," Sen. Bert Stedman said Wednesday.

The reverse sweep vote was included with the capital budget vote this year. The Republican House Minority opposed it in negotiations for a full Permanent Fund Dividend.

In a teleconference Tuesday, the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget said they plan to have a list of the swept funds and the affected programs next week.

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