Senate President Responds to Governor's Budget Compromise
June 08, 2017
Kelly said Wednesday, “The Senate Majority appreciates Governor 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," said Kelly, "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," said Kelly. "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," said Kelly.
Kelly said, " 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."
In the Governor's budget compromise package presented Monday, one of the items proposed by the the Governor is the broad-based tax structure of Senate Bill 12, another form of an income tax. SB 12 would impose a limited educational facilities, maintenance, and construction tax on net earnings from self-employment and wages; relating to the administration and enforcement of the educational facilities, maintenance and construction tax.
While the $100 million in projected revenue from S.B. 12 would be directed to K-12 schools, the Alaska Constitution does not allow funds to permanently dedicate funds for a specific purpose, meaning the money generated from the tax could actually go to pay for anything if future legislatures decide that is necessary.
Reporting & Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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