SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska




May 19, 2016
Thursday PM

(SitNews) Juneau, Alaska - Governor Bill Walker announced today that in the public interest he is calling the Twenty-Ninth Legislature of the State of Alaska into its fourth special session. The Second Session of the 29th Alaska Legislature came to a close Wednesday without any significant action to address the ongoing fiscal crisis brought on by the sudden drop in oil prices and the decreased oil production. The House and Senate failed to pass the FY 2017 Operating Budget.


The Governor during the news conference Thursday morning announcing the Special Session & resonding to questions. Listen to the video of the news conference, click on this link

Without a FY 2017 Operating Budget, the possiblity of a state government shutdown looms six weeks away. The Alaska Legislature was called into special session by the Governor to pass a budget and for deficit-reductions. The special session will take place at Juneau on Monday, May 23, 2016, at 11 a.m. to consider the following subjects:

1. HB 256 or a similar act relating to making appropriations for the operating and loan program expenses of state government and for certain programs, capitalizing funds, amending appropriations, repealing appropriations, and making appropriations under Article IX, Section 17(c), Constitution of the State of Alaska, from the constitutional budget reserve fund;

2. HB 257 or a similar act relating to making appropriations for the operating and capital expenses of the state’s integrated comprehensive mental health program;

3. SB 138 or a similar act relating to making appropriations, including capital appropriations, reappropriations, and other appropriations; and making appropriations to capitalize funds;

4. HB 245 or SB 128 or a similar act relating to the Alaska permanent fund and the earnings reserve account for purposes of a sustainable draw; relating to the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend; and relating to the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation;

5. HB 247 or a similar act relating to interest applicable to delinquent tax; relating to the oil and gas production tax, tax payments, and credits; relating to exploration incentive credits; relating to refunds for the gas storage facility tax credit, the liquefied natural gas storage facility tax credit, and the qualified in-state oil refinery infrastructure expenditures tax credit; relating to the confidential information status and public record status of information in the possession of the Department of Revenue; relating to oil and gas lease expenditures and production tax credits for municipal entities; requiring a bond or cash deposit with a business license application for an oil or gas business;

6. An act relating to a personal income tax, the motor fuel tax, the excise tax on alcoholic beverages, the mining license tax and fees, the mining exploration incentive tax credit, the fisheries business tax, the fishery resource landing tax, the annual base fee for entry or interim-use permits, the administration and enforcement of the marijuana tax, and relating to refunds to local governments and to taxes on tobacco products;

7. HB 200 or a similar act relating to procedures for a petition or proxy for adoption or guardianship of a child in state custody and related amendments to the court rules;

8. HB 27 or a similar act relating to the duties of the Department of Health and Social Services for permanent placement of a child in need of aid; relating to school placement and transportation for children in foster care and foster care placement, including any related court rule amendments;

9. HB 374 or a similar act relating to funding for a reinsurance program; and relating to an application for a waiver for state innovation for health care insurance; and

10. An act relating to major medical insurance coverage for survivors of peace officers and firefighters under the Public Employee’s Retirement System of Alaska.

The Governor has the authority under Article II, Section 9, and Article III, Section 17, Constitution of the State of Alaska to call a special session.

The members of the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition said in a news release they support Governor Walker’s decision to call an immediate special session with a limited agenda focused on the budget, oil tax credit reform, new revenue measures, and a small handful of important bills.

“We are facing a daunting fiscal challenge in the days ahead, a challenge like we have never seen. The solutions are all within reach, and now is the time to step up and for all of us to be a part of the solution” said AIDC Whip Rep. Sam Kito (D-Juneau).

From the first day of the session to the very end we were working to reach compromise solutions on the budget, oil industry subsidies, and a comprehensive fiscal plan,” said AIDC Leader Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage). “The Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition will redouble our efforts in a special session to reach a compromise on a way to fill our budget gap, ward off a recession, and ensure that we have a functioning state government that we can all be proud of.”

A major goal of the AIDC is to pass significant and meaningful reform to the unsustainable subsidies given to the oil industry in the form of tax credits and incentives. Last week, Coalition members supported the compromise oil tax credit reform bill that passed the House of Representatives. Subsequently, the Republican-led Alaska Senate Majority gutted the bill in favor of continuing irresponsible concessions to the oil and gas industry that will cost Alaska hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The House of Representatives failed to concur with the irresponsible changes to the bill made by the Senate Majority.

“The only responsible thing to do is to address the unsustainable oil tax credit subsidies by implementing significant reform like we did in the House,” said Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage). “Unfortunately, the Senate Majority decided to keep in place a system of subsidizing the oil industry we simply can’t afford during a fiscal crisis. If the upcoming special session is to be successful, the Senate Majority must realize the seriousness of our fiscal situation and compromise.”

The cut-off date for sending out pink-slips if necessary according to Gov. Walker is June 1st.


Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Office of the Governor

Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition



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