Sen. Kelly Responds to Governor’s Compromise Package
JUNEAU – Senate President Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, released the following statement today in response to the governor’s compromise package.
“The Senate Majority appreciates Gov. Walker offering a solution. The only way to reach agreement on the issues before us is when all parties are willing to sit down and have a real discussion. These are important issues with real-life consequences for hundreds of thousands of Alaskans. The Senate is currently evaluating the Governor’s proposal. While we’ll agree on some points and disagree on others, an operating budget for FY18 is our highest priority.
“When we swore an oath of office, we vowed to discharge our duties. Our sole requirement, under the Constitution, is to pass an operating budget each year. The Senate is committed to prioritizing that action, and there is no time to waste. July 1 is fast approaching.
“We have called on and will meet the House at the conference committee table to carry out those budget negotiations, as we do every year. We have said many times we stand ready to negotiate. Our goal is to deliver a reduced budget that continues essential services for Alaskans, avoids unnecessary layoffs and delivers stability and certainty to our private sector.
“The Majority appreciates the Governor’s willingness to step up with a comprehensive proposal and, while we prioritize a budget, we will continue to talk with the Governor to achieve consensus. We have requested additional detail on his proposal, which will help our members make an informed evaluation. We are pleased to see the Governor agrees a small structural deficit – easily absorbed by reserves – such as the Senate included in its fiscal plan, is acceptable.
“The Senate Majority remains strongly opposed to an income tax.”