What’s the holdup? The Alaska Legislature’s budget standoff, explained

Tuesday, 27 June 2017, 03:20:48 PM. Confused about why the Alaska Legislature hasn't passed an operating budget to avert a government shutdown July 1? Here's our best explanation.
With the Alaska Legislature unable to pass an appropriations bill and budget five months after it started work this year, a state government shutdown is looming on July 1. A shutdown would have wide impacts and could imperil Alaska's huge summer salmon fisheries, halt road construction and close the state ferry system, causing huge headaches for residents, businesses and tourists. After lawmakers failed to reach a deal on an operating budget and other deficit-reduction measures when their first special session expired Friday, Gov. Bill Walker immediately called another special session to begin Friday afternoon. How did we get here and how does it all end? Here's our best shot at an explanation. So, really: What the heck is going on in Juneau? Simultaneously, a lot and not very much. The Alaska Legislature has been in Juneau five full months, which includes a 90-day regular session that was extended 31 days, plus another 30 days in their first special session, which ended Friday. Their second special session began Friday. Lawmakers, prodded by Walker, have been trying to carry out two distinct tasks that are closely linked: passing an Alaska state government operating budget for the next fiscal year starting July 1, which contains appropriations for specific programs, and assembling a broader fiscal plan to pay for the budget this year and for years to come. [Alaska state government is scheduled to shut down on July 1. Here's what that might look like.] The goal is to fix the...Read more
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