Alaska House amendment would restore dividend

Members continued to playfully fling rubber bands and foam balls at each other, topping off that with a musical birthday tribute to a colleague when the session convened. Both are up against a deadline to pass a state budget before the new fiscal year begins July 1.

And it must be done quickly.

The current special session must end on or before Monday.

The House changed the bill to make smaller cuts to higher education, with the final result being 2 percent cuts to all of the state's four-year institutions. The measure, carrying the sponsorship of Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, now would withhold $206 million from state agencies as a precaution against an unexpected midyear revenue shortfall. The senators wanted to distribute the entire amount of forecast revenue but instruct state agencies to spend prudently - just in case. The budget spends $4.225 billion.

Also Tuesday, the House Finance Committee amended then advanced a road reconstruction bill backed by Justice and approved by the Senate.

"This budget represents an overall compromise", said Gov. Edwards.

"There are no other bills to hear".

Unable to reach an agreement Wednesday for funding full-day kindergarten, lawmakers on a conference committee attempting to hash out a deal recessed to Thursday afternoon. They cost taxpayers $60,000 per day to run, even when they take off some of the days.

"It's time for everybody to take the political hats off and start placing up some statesmanship ... to do what we need to do that's right and proper for our citizens, not what's politically expedient to run on in the next election", Boggs said. Marshall University and West Virginia University were cut more, to the tune of about 6.6 percent. "The projected revenue figures that are being used are likely not accurate - but those numbers are what the Legislature is required to work from".

The capital budget is one of the unresolved pieces, with the special session scheduled to end Friday. "It limits how long you can be the leader and not possess all the power in one person all the time". "That's not how you run a democracy, that's more like a dictatorship".

Alaska Legislators continue working to find a solution to the budget issues that could lead to a government shutdown.

"We're using smoke and mirrors to pass a bunch of garbage out so we don't shut the state down", he said. There's no statutory measure or precedent. And there are just over two weeks left, until numerous 18,000 state government workers are laid off, unless an operating budget is in place. But ours was structured so we would use potential surplus balances that would be created or generate out of excess lottery and the general fund, such that these surpluses that would happen would be cash that would be immediately funded into Medicaid. "We would have liked to do that last Thursday, and we'd like to do it now".

He said while he ensured all Government Bills from the Senate were passed by the the lower House, the Senate will be adjourning before considering close to 10 Government Bills.

Matt Houston is a journalism major at the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication from Tyler, Texas.

  • Larry Hoffman