Alaska Governor Bill Walker proposed an end to oil and gas subsidies in a bid stop a government stalemate and swerve an impending shutdown.
The political leader introduced a fiscal plan compromise package.
“I will be the first to admit that this package will not please everyone,” Governor Walker said.
“In fact, there are pieces I don’t like. But we must all give a little to ensure a viable plan is in place well before July 1. Otherwise, government services—like issuing fishing permits, continuing ferry runs and addressing consumer protection issues—will be shut down.
“Alaskans deserve to have their elected officials come together in true compromise. This session cannot be determined by whose caucus won, otherwise all Alaskans will lose. We must pull together to end the uncertainty that hangs over classrooms, families and our future.”
Under the proposal the House is assured a status-quo operating budget, a broad-based tax structure, and the end of cashable oil and gas credits. In return, it must accept a smaller dividend, as well as less revenue and progressivity, and limited oil and gas reform.
The Senate gets its version of SB 26, close to its version of HB 111 and is able to make larger payments to the oil and gas industry for tax credits but has to concede a modest broad-based tax structure and adopt the House’s operating budget.
The state gets a level of fiscal stability but must continue significant spending restraint.
“Last year, we had a deficit of at least $3.7billion, and with this compromise, we will have a $300million shortfall,” Governor Walker added.
“All of the tools necessary to address this fiscal crisis are currently on the table. This compromise averts a shutdown in government services, provides greater long-term revenue stability and creates a foundation upon which we can build our future. There is no reason the legislature cannot reach a compromise within the next 10 days.”