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State senator calls on Gov. Walker to apologize for surprise LIO veto announcement

By Liz Raines 9:56 PM April 14, 2016

JUNEAU — A state senator is calling for the Gov. Bill Walker to apologize after he made a surprise announcement late-Thursday afternoon. Walker said if lawmakers pass a budget with money to buy the controversial Anchorage Legislative Information Office, he will veto it.

Several lawmakers said they were taken off guard, as well as some members of the governor’s own administration who wish not to be identified.

“I met with the governor last week and asked him specifically whether he would veto the project or not,” said Sen. Anna MacKinnon, a member of the Legislative Council, which offered to buy the building for $32.5 million earlier this month. Mackinnon said Walker is putting the Legislature in a box and hopes he will apologize publicly.

“It always gets bumpy at the end and so, sometimes people do things that they shouldn’t do. I hope if someone has done something that they shouldn’t do that they let the public know,” said MacKinnon in an interview Thursday.

“I certainly would try to be honest when I make a mistake,” she said.

MacKinnon said she wants to know why the governor didn’t talk to her before telling the media of his plans.

“We’re all trying to come together to solve Alaska’s fiscal issues and we’re trying to respond to what the governor is asking us to take a look at.”

MacKinnon said the Legislative Council made its recommendation after crunching numbers from an independent review, and that this announcement isn’t going to help his relationship with lawmakers in working towards a fiscal plan.

“The governor hasn’t helped things by telling us he’s vetoing things that we think are good math choices, but maybe he can tell us his math choice that’s better,” said MacKinnon.

The Legislature has made a rent payment through the end of June on the LIO. In a statement Wednesday, a spokesperson for the building’s developer, 716 W. 4th Ave, said the company had already accepted the Legislative Council’s offer.

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