Governor Bill Walker signed a proclamation calling state lawmakers back for a 30-day special legislative session after the House and Senate adjourned Wednesday evening without deciding on a state operating budget.
Had the House Majority's plan been fully enacted, it would have eradicated the deficit by 2020.
The House majority coalition, composed largely of Democrats, has insisted on a broad-based tax, like an income tax, and broader changes to oil tax and credit policy than the Senate has supported as part of an overall solution. But the two sides are at odds over how best to move forward.
The House and Senate have proposed using earnings from the state's oil-wealth fund, the Alaska Permanent Fund, to help cover costs but disagree on what else is needed.
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Lawmakers did pass some other non-budget measures before adjourning, including a bill to bring ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft to Alaska.
The House's lengthy floor calendar Wednesday included bills unrelated to the fiscal situation that will not die when this regular session ends.
Senate Finance Committee Co-chair Lyman Hoffman said work should focus on what lawmakers agree upon first.
Lawmakers are not required to pass legislation dealing with all of these subjects, but they are limited to what's on the governor's agenda and can not add any other items.
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Edgmon says ideally the House would be working on fiscal issues with the Senate. The Senate approach includes spending from the Permanent Fund's investment earnings and steep budget cuts.
Walker told reporters he'd consider amending the agenda, to add a specific tax proposal, if he felt talks on that topic weren't being productive. House Speaker Bryce Edgmon said Wednesday there didn't appear to be sufficient support to extend the session. The Dillingham Democrat has noted repeatedly that the issues being debated are significant and not easily resolved. The opioid legislation was proposed by Walker. But the North Pole Republican said he understands the need for a narrow focus.
Sen. John Coghill said he was disappointed the agenda did not include a bill that contained what were seen as more substantive changes to criminal justice legislation passed previous year.
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