NEWS: Alaska House Ends Special Session Without a Fiscal Plan to Protect the Alaska Economy

The Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Will Continue Working on Solutions that are Fair for All Alaskans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2016

Juneau – Tonight, the Alaska House of Representatives closed out the Fourth Special Session of the 29th Alaska Legislature without making any substantial progress towards creating a balanced and sustainable plan to address the ongoing fiscal crisis in Alaska.  The House failed to pass any of the revenue measures they were called into Special Session to consider by Alaska Governor Bill Walker.  The 13 members of the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition (AIDC) remain committed to working on a comprehensive fiscal plan that will protect the Alaska economy and the essential functions of state government.

“The only acceptable solution to Alaska’s ongoing fiscal crisis is a plan that is both comprehensive and fair.  That has been the mission of this Coalition since the first day of the session back in January and it will remain our mission until a solution is found,” said AIDC Leader Representative Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage).  “The only solution put forward by the Republican-led Senate Majority was to slash Permanent Fund Dividend payments and continue unsustainable subsidies for the oil industry.  This is unacceptable as a comprehensive fiscal plan.”

The Fourth Special Session of the 29th Alaska Legislature was called by Alaska Governor Bill Walker with a set agenda that included several revenue measures, the FY 2017 budgets, and a handful of important bills that failed to garner legislative approval during the regular session.  The Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition was instrumental in the deal that allowed for passage of a fully funded budget that prevented a government shutdown and protected the important tourism, commercial fishing, and construction industries that are all vital aspects of the overall Alaska economy.

“This Special Session started with tremendous uncertainty because the budget was not funded and included irresponsible cuts supported by the Republican-led leadership in the House and Senate that would harm kids, seniors, and the most vulnerable Alaskans,” said House Education Committee member Rep. Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage).  “I am so proud of my colleagues in the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition because we stepped in and reached a deal that fully-funded the budget and rolled back those harmful cuts.  We are going to continue working on solutions and I hope the members of the Majority will join us in that effort.”

In the coming days and weeks, the members of the AIDC will be meeting with Alaskans to get their direct input on the measures to use as part of a comprehensive fiscal plan.  The members of the Coalition are urging Alaskans to give their input to the Alaska Legislature and Governor Walker on what they would like to see in a fiscal plan.

“I want a comprehensive fiscal plan that represents what’s best for our shared future as Alaskans.  Such a plan must protect jobs, the economy, and our Alaska way of life,” said Rep. Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage).  “Sadly, lawmakers have been unable to consider a plan that meets that test. When we reconvene again, we must seriously embrace comprehensive solutions that fairly share the burden and represent what’s best for the many rather that what’s convenient for the few.”

For more information, please contact Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.

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