Alaska Legislature faces more time as session deadline looms

20 Mai, 2017, 03:12 | Author: Come Portier
  • Drew Phoenix left and his girlfriend Ellen Robertson talk about a ballot initiative going before local voters that calls for equal legal protections for gay and transgender residents in Anchorage Alaska. Th

Late in the regular session, the Senate solidified its position by voting down the House's proposed income tax, all but killing the idea for the year.

On Wednesday night, the Alaska House of Representatives and Alaska Senate adjourned the first regular session of the 30th Alaska Legislature without finishing a budget and without finding a way to pay for that budget.

Edgmon, a Democrat from Dillingham, said that ideally the House would be working on fiscal issues with the Senate.

On Walker's agenda for the special session are a series of budget-related items and measures addressing Alaska's prescription drug abuse epidemic.

Options include extending for another 10 days, which requires two-thirds support in each chamber, or looking to Gov. Bill Walker to call a special session.

Walker issued his call for a special session late Wednesday, after the House and Senate had ended a drawn-out regular session without reaching agreement on those and several other issues.

Walker's special session agenda allows lawmakers to consider increasing an existing tax or establishing a new broad-based tax to generate new revenue for a state that has long relied on heavily volatile oil revenues.

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"At this point, obviously, we need the governor to lead the House majority to narrow the focus", Millett said Tuesday.

Over the last month, work has continued, particularly in the House, on bills not related to the budget or a fiscal fix.

Sen. John Coghill said he was disappointed the agenda did not include a bill that contained what were seen as more substantive changes to criminal justice legislation passed past year. The measure next goes to Gov. Bill Walker for consideration. But there is sharp disagreement over what else should be done.

The House and Senate also remain at odds over oil tax and credit policy.

While lawmakers have moved to end future cashable oil tax credits, seeing the program that financially rewards oil exploration and production as too expensive, House majority members favor further changes to the state's oil tax system than the Senate has supported.

Jessica Geary, finance manager for the Legislative Affairs Agency, said she did not have accurate reporting for extended session costs so far. If a budget is not passed by July 1, the government will shut down.

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