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Lawmakers Encouraging Unprofitable Corporation to Move Faster on Privatization

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2016

Juneau – Today, Representatives Les Gara (D-Anchorage), David Guttenberg (D-Fairbanks), and Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage) issued a call for the state run Alaska Aerospace Corporation to return most of the remaining funds left unspent from the roughly $98 million in state general funds appropriated since 2009.

“We can’t afford to pay eight employees at an essentially idle, money-losing state corporation between $120,000 and $225,000 in salary to not launch rockets 364 or 365 days a year,” said House Finance Committee member Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage).  “Launching rockets, or more to the point, not launching rockets, is not a core function of state government.  Taking back $1 million of the unspent money could help reverse proposed harmful budget cuts to those battling disabilities and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Currently, the Alaska Aerospace Corporation has $2.3 million remaining from the $98 million in prior appropriations from the State of Alaska since 2009.  The corporation has never returned a dividend to the state and has only had three rocket launches in the past seven years.

“For many years I have joined several other lawmakers in asking for the Alaska Legislature to stop or reduce funding for this state corporation, which seems to only lose money,” said Rep. Gara.

“$2.3 million is not an insignificant amount of money and we believe some or all of that money can be put to better use by offsetting some of the irresponsible cuts being considered that will negatively impact the education of our children, the health of our seniors, and our economy,” said House Resources Committee member Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage).

Former Alaska Lieutenant Governor Craig Campbell is the Chief Executive Officer of the Alaska Aerospace Corporation, which owns and operates the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island.  Campbell is paid a salary of $225,000 a year.  The corporation’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer is paid $211,588 a year and six other executives make over $120,000 a year.

“The Alaska Aerospace Corporation needs to take the Alaska Legislature’s message to privatize seriously and not draw out the process while using state money to stay afloat,” said House Finance Committee member Rep. David Guttenberg (D-Fairbanks).  “By giving back all or a large portion of the $2.3 million, the corporation can do its share to not add to the burden placed on more important parts of our economy.”

The call for the Alaska Aerospace Corporation to return unspent state money comes as the three Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition members on the House Finance Committee are prepared to offer an amendment to House Bill 256, the proposed FY 2017 operating budget, requiring the corporation to return funds it doesn’t need.  That amendment will be offered this week as the budget is considered by the committee. 

For more information, contact Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.

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