Lawmakers Must Use the First Special Session to Focus on Alaska’s Fiscal Future
Alaska House Majority Coalition Remains Committed to Passage of a Fiscal Plan to Protect the Economy and Jobs
Juneau – The First Regular Session of the 30th Alaska State Legislature ended tonight with clear differences between the Alaska House Majority Coalition and the Alaska Senate Majority on the need for a comprehensive fiscal plan to address the ongoing recession and the $2.7 billion budget gap. Both majority organizations wanted the ten-day extension allowed for in the Alaska Constitution, but the House Republican Caucus refused to provide enough votes in favor. In response, Governor Bill Walker is calling the Alaska Legislature into a Special Session to start on Thursday.
“After three years of significant budget cuts and having spent more than $13 billion of our accessible savings, it is time to put the fiscal crisis behind us once and for all,” said Speaker of the House Rep. Bryce Edgmon (D-Dillingham). “Finding consensus on a solution was never going to be easy, but we have come a long way from last year, when the House majority couldn’t find the resolve to pass a fiscal plan. Our Coalition passed a comprehensive fiscal plan in the regular session, and I am confident we can find agreement with the Senate on measures put forward by the Governor in the upcoming special session.”
The Alaska House Majority Coalition remains committed to a comprehensive fiscal plan for Alaska that is fair across all income levels with contributions from every region of the state and every segment of the economy. Such a plan must include the appropriate use of earning from the Alaska Permanent Fund while protecting the PFD. It is also necessary to reform Alaska’s unsustainable system of subsidizing the oil industry with tax credits. Any truly complete fiscal plan must also include a broad based revenue measure to fully eliminate the budget deficit.
Governor Walker called the special session to start on Thursday with a limited agenda of bills to consider including the FY 2018 budgets, the Permanent Fund Protection Act, oil tax credit reform, a broad-based tax, and other priority bills.
“Thankfully the Senate Majority has come around to the House’s position that we can no longer be paying the oil industry cash for their tax credits. That’s a start, but there is a lot of work still to be done to reform our oil tax system. We cannot sell out our future,” said House Majority Leader Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage). “The Senate Majority still needs to reconsider their dangerous proposed cuts to public education, the University of Alaska, and senior centers. They also need to back away from their latest giveaway to the oil industry.”
For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.