Alaska House reaches agreement on state budget

The Alaska Capitol Building. (May 15, 2019) Photo courtesy of Paxson Woelber/The Alaska Landmine

The Alaska House reached an agreement intended to avoid a partial government shutdown just days ahead of the new fiscal year.

The votes followed a dramatic period in which some minority Republicans questioned the sincerity of negotiations with the House’s majority coalition.

Involved Monday was adoption of a statement of the House, calling for creation of a House-Senate working group to make recommendations on a “comprehensive fiscal plan” for the next special session. There also was another vote on the effective date provisions attached to the state spending package lawmakers approved earlier this month, which failed in the House at that time but squeaked by on Monday.

Legislative leaders had been in negotiations focused on securing the two-thirds support, or 27 votes, needed for the effective date provisions in the House. The House’s 21-member bipartisan majority needed help from minority Republicans to do so. Some minority Republicans complained of what they saw as strong-arm budget tactics and pressed to be included in discussions about a broader state fiscal plan.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy had called the budget “defective,” pointing particularly to the failed effective date vote in the House. The new fiscal year begins Thursday.

Both chambers adjourned the special session Monday.