Gov. Walker, the ‘eternal optimist,’ voices concern as Legislature talks early adjournment
Gov. Bill Walker, who calls himself the “eternal optimist,” says he’s becoming concerned about the Alaska Legislature’s unwillingness to “fix the problem,” in the face of the state’s multi-billion dollar revenue shortfall.
Just one day after gaveling into a special session, House majority members spent all of Tuesday in closed-door meetings discussing whether or not to adjourn.
“There’s no point in taking up those measures if they don’t have the support to pass,” said House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski.
Walker has called one special session after another, urging lawmakers to adopt his long-term plan, which centers on the use of the permanent fund to put Alaska on more stable financial ground. But Chenault says the House is running into the same problem each time: there simply aren’t enough votes to adopt Walker’s plan.
The House is slated to meet in a public floor session on Wednesday at 11 a.m. In an exclusive interview with KTVA, Walker voiced his frustrations with the inaction.
“I will be sorely disappointed if they choose to put their own political careers over Alaska’s future by gaveling out and not taking any action whatsoever,” Walker said.
The governor wouldn’t say yet what his response would be if lawmakers did adjourn early.
“I don’t usually pre-judge what I’ll do because that’s something that sometimes impacts what they do,” Walker explained. “So I will wait and see what actions they take.”
In an unprecedented move, Walker also called into an Anchorage Assembly meeting Tuesday evening to apologize for the impacts of his budget vetoes on local governments across the state.
“Pushing this off to local government is not at all what we wanted to do,” Walker told the Assembly. “We introduced a complete fiscal package, not a single one of them was passed by the Legislature. The assemblies are all doing what you’re doing, you’re taking immediate action. I wish the Legislature would do the same thing. Now, unfortunately, some of it falls into your lap.”
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