Upcoming special session may address Permanent Fund

With savings running out, the window for action is narrowing. By Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Governor Walker announced that he will be calling the Legislature back into a fourth special session on Oct. 23 to address some form of new revenue. A special-session proclamation that outlines a specific agenda has not yet been issued, but there are existing pieces of legislation, as well as new proposals that may be included. The proclamation is expected by Sept. 22 as the Alaska Constitution requires that a governor provide an official 30-day notice prior to calling legislators back into session.

One piece of existing legislation that may be addressed during the special session is SB 26, the Permanent Fund restructuring bill. This bill was passed in two different versions by both bodies and is currently in conference committee.

I have several concerns from opposite sides of the same coin:

On one hand, I have no desire to waste more state dollars on another special session if there is not an agreement between both bodies to work on something together. The House passed several revenue measures earlier in the year, but the Senate refused to pass either of them.

On the other hand, I fear that if we do not act this fall, we may lose our opportunity for another year. 2018 marks an election year and I am very dubious that a Senate that was unwilling to make the tough and meaningful changes this year will choose to do so in the face of reelection next year. This is a bicameral Legislature and both bodies need to work together to achieve meaningful change. I sincerely hope that the Senate will come to the table this October ready to work on a solution that will ensure Alaska’s prosperity into the future.

Our House Majority was formed by a group of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents with the expressed purpose of getting Alaska back on track, not to secure our next term in office; unfortunately, those elements exist in an election year.

Our savings is running out and our window of action is narrowing. Every solution on the table is an unpopular one, but I feel that is why you elected me: to act rather than watch Alaska’s future drain away with our savings.

Over the next month and a half, House leadership will continue to dialogue with our colleagues in the Senate to negotiate on potential solutions this October.

In the meantime, please remain patient, engaged, and informed. I will update you with changes as they develop.

Please contact me and tell me how you feel. Whether your thoughts are on the budget, new revenue, fisheries or transportation issues, or something that is important to you and your family, I’m here for you and will always endeavor to work on your behalf.

Sincerely,

Louise Stutes

State House Representative for District 32

Proudly Serving Kodiak, Cordova, Yakutat, and Seldovia

Rep.Louise.Stutes@akleg.gov

(907) 465-3271

https://www.facebook.com/RepLouiseStutes