Alaska Legislature Deadlocks Over Budget, Vetoes, PFD…But There Is A Solution

Alaska Legislature Deadlocks Over Budget, Vetoes, PFD…But There Is A Solution

July 12, 2019

Today, the Alaska Legislature enters its fifth day of a second, 30-day special session, with little progress being made.

38 of the 60-members of the combined House and Senate are in Juneau, where legislative leadership say they are compelled to meet by the Alaska Constitution.

22 of the 60 are in Wasilla, which is where Governor Mike Dunleavy called for the session to be held.

The additional time was needed to find consensus and conclusion on how to distribute this year’s Permanent Fund Dividend – with the legislators and the Governor at odds over the amount and formula for this year.

Legislators also had five days from gaveling in to address – and some hope override – $444 million in line-item vetoes the Governor made from the operating budget.  The 38-member Juneau faction has tried repeatedly to persuade two or more members from the Wasilla group to engage in the veto votes, but with zero success.  If nothing happens by midnight tonight, the vetoes will stand, which has polarized both supporters of the Governor’s budget, as well as those opposing what they say are ‘draconian’ cuts.

Power The Future has a solution to the ongoing Alaska budget deficit.  It is simple in its theory, but will take time to implement: open Alaska to development.

Of course we must responsibly protect the environment. But let’s make Alaska work for Alaskans and create thousands of jobs.

There are mining opportunities in northwest, southwest and southeast Alaska.  There are additional oil and gas leasing areas in Cook Inlet and on the North Slope.  There are rare-earth opportunities in interior Alaska.

The Governor and Legislature have the ability to pass legislation to make things easier for companies to explore, permit and advance projects.  Doing so will bring jobs – tens of thousands of them – at wage levels that will sustain and improve the well-being of residents all over Alaska.  Development also will allow the state coffers to swell with additional monies from leases, royalties and operational fees.

It will take time, but as Alaskans are seeing, cuts to budgets  – when they cannot be sustained without drawing down and ultimately depleting reserve accounts – are painful for everyone.