Special session wraps up: Governor gives final signature on TransCanada buyout
Gov. Bill Walker gave a final signature on Senate Bill 3001 Thursday, making the state a 25 percent owner in its gas pipeline project. On Wednesday, lawmakers passed the governor’s bill to buy out TransCanada Corporation, the only bill on the agenda for the Legislature’s third special session this year.
At the bill signing the governor told reporters he’ll be introducing a tax to help balance the state’s budget. He wouldn’t give specifics about what it would be on, or who it would affect. The governor says he hopes to unveil the final plan by Dec. 15.
Meanwhile, the Senate adjourned Thursday morning, marking the end of the 13-day special session.
From day one, some legislators said they wished they were doing more to keep the project moving. Many lawmakers said they wanted to make other decisions on AKLNG, like whether or not the state will take its share of the profits in gas or in cash.
Some lawmakers said they had also expected to see an agreement with gas producers on a payment in lieu of property taxes, known as PILT.
“We didn’t have a good defining reason why PILT wasn’t here yet,” said Rep. Charisse Millett, the House Majority Leader. “We haven’t made a royalty in kind or royalty in value decision yet. Those are things that we need to make.”
Governor Walker says he wasn’t ready to take those steps during the regular session, adding that he hopes to be able to introduce them in the regular session of 2016.
“That’s the goal, we’ll see,” Walker said. “I’ll make that decision as the session progresses. As far as if we’re going to be able to accomplish that.”
With so many decisions left unmade, some legislators say they expect January’s regular session to give way to more special sessions on the gas line.
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