JUNEAU – With less than two weeks before the 121-day constitutional end of session, members of the House have yet to see a single component of a fiscal plan pass from committee and reach the House Floor. The House Coalition reiterates a commitment to work together, in good faith, on improving fiscal stability and calls on leadership in the House Majority to allow components of a fiscal plan to move forward.
“Talk of a fiscal plan without action rings hollow and we cannot continue with the status quo,” said Minority Whip Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak). “It is time for the House Majority to bring a fiscal plan to the floor for consideration. The future of our state depends on it.”
“While the House Majority is burying bills in committee, fiscal uncertainty is damaging our economy and endangering essential services and stability in PFD funding,” said Minority Leader Calvin Schrage (NA-Anchorage). “Without a fiscal plan, the state is left with few options and the Alaska House Coalition is unwilling to raid the Permanent Fund or drain savings.”
“The Alaska House Coalition, the Senate Majority, and the Governor are all in favor of a plan that will provide long-term stability for the state’s finances,” said Representative Cliff Groh (D-Anchorage). “Without a fiscal plan, we will continue to see smaller dividends and inadequate funding for our schools. Three revenue bills have been introduced to the House and not one has advanced through its first committee, much less Finance. We need to bring these bills to the floor for debate and votes so the public can see where each legislator really stands on solving our fiscal crisis.”
“We continue to hear from the Majority that all hope of a fiscal plan will come through the House Ways and Means Committee, yet legislation remains stagnant in this committee,” said Representative Andrew Gray (D-Anchorage). “This week, we’ve seen meetings cancelled and no movement on any form of a fiscal plan. It’s time for the House Ways and Means Committee to take action.”
“The time to act and pass a fiscal plan is now and we cannot afford to continue kicking the can down the road,” said Representative Donna Mears (D-Anchorage). “Without new revenues and a long-term fiscal plan, the Legislature’s only options are to drastically cut essential services or reduce the PFD, both of which are unacceptable and not a long-term solution.”
“Our state needs to chart a brighter future that includes sufficient funding for schools, public safety, and workforce development” said Representative Maxine Dibert (D-Downtown Fairbanks). “Enough talk of a fiscal plan, we need fiscal action.”
“With a continued drop in the price of oil, the $600 million deficit in the budget passed by the House Majority continues to grow,” said Representative Rebecca Himschoot (NA-Sitka). “Alaskans cannot afford inaction. Our students, teachers, and first responders cannot afford inaction.”