Special session scheduled in Juneau, but Senate to meet in Anchorage
Lawmakers are slated to gavel into a special session in the capital city on Monday, but the State Senate will be coming back to Anchorage.
While the House is in Juneau, the Senate plans to hold hearings on the state budget situation at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office next week. Several Republican legislators have asked the governor to move the session to Anchorage. Now, the Senate says holding hearings here, is the next best thing.
"We have that flexibility within our own, you know, powers," said Sen. Mia Costello, Chair of the Labor and Commerce Committee. "And so you'll be seeing us here in Anchorage and Alaskans can be coming during their lunch time or during their day to listen to what's happening and getting an update, as we will, on the fiscal situation."
Gov. Bill Walker is asking lawmakers to make changes to the state crime law, Senate Bill 91, and to consider a payroll tax on people who work in Alaska. Costello says the Senate continues to oppose any taxes during a time of recession.
While Walker's tax proposal hasn't received strong support from either body, some members of the House Majority Coalition say a tax is necessary -- whether it's the governor's version or something else.
"The state is almost out of money though, oil prices dropped, and when oil prices dropped we've had three years of three billion dollar deficits," said Rep. Les Gara, Vice-Chair of the Finance Committee. "We're almost out of savings, we need to raise some money but raise it in a way that's fair."
The special session can last up to 30 days. This is the legislature's fourth special session this year.
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