Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Walker isn’t playing games with second special session
You can’t say Gov. Bill Walker is being wishy-washy about the state’s fiscal dilemma. By calling a second special session he’s sending a strong signal to lawmakers that he expects them to finish their current job before asking for voters to give them another turn.
To be fair to lawmakers, the state Senate considered Walker’s revenue proposals, and in a bi-partisan effort, voted 14-5 to convert the permanent fund into an endowment, and cap the dividend at $1,000 to help relieve the state’s multi-billion dollar deficit.
That took a measure of vision and courage, and as of yet, I haven’t heard of Alaskans calling for their heads.
It was lawmakers in the House who ended the first special session without voting up or down on any of Walker’s revenue proposals.
One House lawmaker who voted against the plan said that he was listening to constituents. To be clear, he was listening to some constituents.
An Alaska Dispatch News poll, conducted in January, indicated that although a majority of republicans didn’t like Walker’s plan, 73 percent of Alaskans said that it was important that lawmakers enact a similar plan to deal with the deficit — and that included 71 percent of republicans.
So after witnessing 5 months of political gamesmanship from lawmakers, Walker appears eager to play a little politics himself.
All 40 lawmakers in the House are up for re-election. And Walker is calling them back at a critical time in campaign season. The special session ends just one week before the August primary. Walker’s timing is no coincidence. The special session could prevent incumbents from going door to door to talk to constituents, right before the primary.
And if they choose to campaign rather than attend the special session, they’ll have to explain that to voters.
Whether you believe in global warming or not, Walker just ensured it’s going to be a hot summer in Juneau.
John’s opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees.
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