Anchorage residents give lawmakers mixed grades
Lawmakers have been through three special sessions this year and Governor Bill Walker has indicated there may be more to come.
KTVA asked Anchorage residents what they think of the time lawmakers have spent in session, so far.
“It’s not going the way it should be, but this is Alaska,” said Jerimy Sapalo.
Sapalo and many of those surveyed outside Fred Meyer in Midtown Monday evening said they haven’t been paying close attention to what’s happened in Juneau, but they did notice when the legislature and the governor agreed to cap Permanent Fund dividends at $1,100 this fall.
“If they were gonna actually put those funds to good use, I could justify them cutting into the PFD to you know further the state in a positive fashion. But I just don’t see that happening,” said Ryan Morgan.
The two men give the Legislature mixed grades.
“I’d probably say a D,” said Sapalo. And the governor? “Pretty much the same thing, I mean I don’t really agree with what they do but they’ll do it anyway.”
Morgan was more optimistic.
“B minus, I guess, B, I mean they’re not doing a super great job but I mean they are trying.”
Gov. Bill Walker is calling for new taxes.
“Our work is not yet done,” Walker said after signing the state’s capital budget into law Monday afternoon without fanfare.
In a press release afterward, Walker said work on a fiscal plan isn’t over yet.
“We need new revenues to address our fiscal crisis and put Alaska back on a path towards stability. We cannot cut – or veto – our way out of this crisis. I look forward to continuing to engage with the legislature to resolve Alaska’s fiscal shortfall. Alaskans deserve to have this issue resolved now,” Walker wrote.
But, when it comes to taxes, the House and Senate are still philosophically divided.
“I look forward to what he proposes, I think we need every idea on the table as we face this historic time,” said Rep. Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage) referring to the state’s multi-billion dollar budget gap in an interview Monday evening.
Sen. Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage) says the Senate is comfortable with maintaining that gap to keep the pressure on cutting the budget next year.
“The last thing we want to do in a recession is increase taxes. You’re not going to be able to tax your way out of a recession, in fact, it’s just going to make it worse,” Meyer said.
Walker hasn’t specified yet when he would call lawmakers back into session.