Representative Geran Tarr

Share on Facebook   JUNE 22, 2017

Special Session Two Update

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope you enjoyed Summer Solstice!  We are in the second special session now, having not passed an operating budget during the first special session.  Without a budget, state government shuts down on July 1.  To me, this is an unacceptable outcome and I am pushing for a compromise. 

Compromise at this time is really, really difficult because it can mean accepting cuts to education and health care that can cause damage and that I do not support.  I prepared the table below to give you a sense of what is at play here on the few big issues where there is disagreement and why the decisions are so difficult.  Once we reach a plan and a budget is passed I’ll update this table with the final results.  I want you to think about what would be acceptable to you before knowing the outcome and I hope you’ll share your thoughts with me on what cuts you would accept. 

I voted for the House Majority Coalition budget and in most cases I supported that budget, which for me was already a compromise because it included cuts to education and healthcare.  However, given fiscal crisis I know we have to scale back and I supported these modest cuts. 

Also below is information from a previous enews about the House Majority Coalition and Senate Majority fiscal plans.  This Special Session is limited to the budget so the work on a fiscal plan will have to continue once a budget is passed.  With yesterday’s announcement about a negative credit watch because of our lack of a fiscal plan now is the time for action.  We need to pass a Capital Budget and then the remaining items for the fiscal plan are House Bill 111 (or another bill to reform our broken oil and gas tax system), SB 26 (or another bill addressing the POMV approach to managing the Permanent Fund), and broad based revenue (could be any measure currently under consideration by the legislature or a new bill). 

Item Governor’s Budget House Majority Budget House Republicans Senate Republicans Compromise Notes

Education Funding

$1.2 billion for BSA (Base Student Allocation that districts receive per student of $5.930)

$1.2 billion for BSA plus $6.5 million for pupil transportation

Want $100 million more in cuts, but haven’t provided a list of specific cuts

Budget cut education $69 million (220 additional positions cut from ASD)

Compromise between $1.2 billion for BSA, $6.5 million for pupil transportation and $69 million cut

Status quo funding using last year’s number results in 90 positions cuts from ASD.  Class sizes will increase, good teachers may be lost.


University Funding

$325 million (Regents request was $341 million)

$325 million –(Supported Governor’s budget)

Want $100 million more in cuts, but haven’t provided a list of specific cuts

$303 million

Compromise between $303 and $325

University funding has been cut $54 million over the last four years.  Additional cuts will lead to entire programs being deleted.


Health and Social Services Funding

Medicaid funding at FY 2017 level, $50-80 million less than FY 15 due to Medicaid Expansion

Supported Governor’s budget

Want $100 million more in cuts, but haven’t provided a list of specific cuts

$31 million in cuts, 2.5% personnel cut to Pioneer Homes, Office of Children’s Services, Senior & Disability Services, Juvenile Justice

Compromise could include cuts to Medicaid and other programs that will be made by cutting staff, reducing payments to providers, or eliminating services

This budget is complex with dozens of programs providing services to hundreds of thousands of Alaskans.  Access to healthcare is essential for our state.


PFD Amount


$1150 (this year, then growing to $1250 and above)

Some voted to pay full PFD, some have voted against


Compromise between $1000 and $1150

A fiscal plan that includes a broad based revenue measure means you can have a bigger PFD.  The PFD is essential for many Alaskan families and is the reason why many Alaskans are not living in poverty.


Oil Subsidies

$77 million

$37 million (in operating budget, some can be funded in capital budget)

Unclear what their position is, haven’t said a specific amount to pay, but that we do have to pay them, have made statements supporting Senate request


Want to pay $77 million plus another $288 million

Compromise could be $77 million because there is a statutory formula that says the state needs to pay $77 million this year. Likely statutory amount until a fiscal plan in enacted.

Total due is almost $1 billion. A fiscal plan could provide for a payment schedule to phase out this failed program.

House Plan vs. Senate Plan: AKHere2Stay or DrainNPray?

ICYMI from a previous enews: Speaking of plans, recently we added a page to our website comparing the House Plan with the Senate Plan.  Please take a look and see which one works best for you.  We’re calling the Senate Plan the “DrainNPray” plan because it drains our savings accounts and relies on higher oil prices in the future to balance the budget, something we know we have no control over at all and what got us in this mess in the first place.  We call the House Plan the “AKHere2Stay” plan because we love Alaska and want to fix the economy, give the stability businesses need for investment, stop the job losses, and start moving forward in the state we love.  There’s also a link to print out the comparison and if you are talking with family, friends, or co-workers about what’s happening in the legislature this might be helpful.


signed: Geran Tarr
Representative Geran Tarr


State Capitol Bldg. Room 126
Juneau, AK 99801
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Anchorage, AK 99503
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Thatcher Brouwer, Legislative Aide
+1 (907) 465-3424

Magdalena Oliveros, Legislative Aide
+1 (907) 465-3424


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Senator Dan Sullivan
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T (202) 224-3004
EMAIL: Sen. Dan Sullivan

Senator Lisa Murkowski
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Anchorage, AK 99501
T (907) 271-3735 F (877) 857-0322
EMAIL: Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Congressman Don Young
4241 B Street, Suite 203
Anchorage, AK 99503
T (907) 271-5978 F (907) 271-5950
EMAIL: Rep. Don Young