By TOBEY SCHMIDT
In the afternoon on June 22, the Alaska State Legislature passed the Fiscal Year 2018 Operating Budget.
“The Senate Majority did not achieve everything on its agenda, but both sides compromised for the good of Alaska,” said Senate President Pete Kelly, Fairbanks, in a press release from Alaska Senate Majority. “The Senate and House worked together to deliver a reduced budget in time to avoid the high costs of a government shutdown.”
In its own press release, the Alaska House Majority Coalition made it clear it would like to continue unfinished work, including the FY 2018 Capital Budget, legislation to create a sustainable draw on Permanent Fund earnings, reforms to Alaska’s oil tax regime and new broad-based revenues.
“There is overwhelming evidence that the best way to protect our economy is to diversify our revenue and take away some of the volatility that comes from relying on the fluctuating price of oil or the inherent ups and downs in the stock market,” said House Finance Committee Co-chair Rep. Paul Seaton, Homer, in the press release. “The budget we passed tonight prevents a government shutdown and keeps Alaska up and running.”
After being voted on and approved by the House and Senate, the bill will now be sent to Gov. Bill Walker for consideration.