Governor Walker says he is waiting for lawmakers to compromise on budget
September 9, 2019
Governor Bill Walker told lawmakers opposed to his compromise proposal to resolve the state’s budget crisis that they should produce their own compromise ideas.Governor Bill Walker (R-Ak) photo: Skip Gray/360 North“It may not be a perfect compromise,” Gov. Walker said. “It’s the only compromise that’s on the table. I would welcome other compromises coming forth. I submitted a compromise because I didn’t see one.”Listen nowWalker supports a Senate proposal to draw money from the Permanent Fund earnings to pay for state government. He also backs the Senate plan to cut Permanent Fund dividends to one thousand dollars. And he backs a Senate bill to overhaul oil and gas tax credits.But Walker endorses the House plans for the budget. He also supports tax that would require workers in Alaska to pay one of five tax amounts based on their incomes.House majority leaders criticized the package – especially a deficit that could lead to future cuts to school and other spending.Senate President Pete Kelly says majority senators see the package as a positive step.“Well, the governor’s proposal was well-received,” Kelly said. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to agree with everything on it. He established some goalposts that we can begin to negotiate to.”Kelly also says lawmakers should focus on the budget first. He adds that he would be comfortable spending from a state savings account known as the Constitutional Budget Reserve to close this year’s deficit.A state government shutdown will begin on July 1st if lawmakers don’t reach a compromise.Walker says the effect will be widespread.“Registration of cars, selling houses, marriage certificates, death certificates – I mean, all sorts of things that we take for granted,” Gov. Walker said. “I mean, I don’t think we realize sometimes all we take for granted until suddenly we look at those services not going to be available. Commercial fishing would be significantly impacted – no question about that.”Administration officials say details of a potential government shutdown will be available later this week.