Government Shutdown Averted: Legislature Finds Budget Compromise

Published: Jun. 23, 2017 at 11:47 PM AKDT
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The Alaska Legislature has avoided a state government shutdown by reaching a compromise on an operating budget.

This budget reflects the compromises necessary to complete a budget during the special session and avoid the unprecedented state government shutdown.

Eight days before state offices would have shut down and workers would have been sent home, legislators came to agreement on a budget.

Rep. Paul Seaton agreed that a government shutdown was worse than a battle between the House and Senate.

"Some wanted fewer reductions, some wanted more reductions and no one gets everything they want. And so this compromise had to come up with to get us a final budget at this time."

The compromise calls for continued draws from the state savings account, funds oil and gas tax subsidies and funds education.

It also caps the permanent fund dividend. This year's check would be no more than $1,100.

Rep. David Eastman was not happy with the cuts to PFD's, which hit lower income earners the hardest.

"Using the various funding sources out of savings, even by best estimates, from last years budget

To this year, we haven't even dropped a percent. And yet we've taken more than 50 percent of the PFD's of Alaskans. That is not sustainable."

Rep. Tammie Wilson of North Pole said sooner or later, lawmakers are going to have to deal with the issues of lack of revenue and billion dollar deficits

"Mr. Speaker we can't just keep spending money like this at some point, we have to cut back just like private business has done. The same as we have had to do in our families we've had to cut back and we have to do it here."

Several lawmakers didn't agree with the budget, but said they voted for it to avoid a government shutdown.