June 19 was the last day of the first special session. After weeks of negotiating, both chambers passed out an operating budget in time to avoid a government shutdown.
Unfortunately, the Governor has chosen to not sign the budget and is threatening a government shutdown anyway. As a first year legislator and as an Alaskan, I am incredibly frustrated with and disappointed in the House Minority and the Governor. The Governor said he won’t sign the budget without the July 1st effective date, but he also hasn’t called on the House Minority to vote for that effective date. This is a manufactured crisis that threatens Alaskans’ livelihoods for the sake of politics. This is not leadership.
The budget we passed was made out of compromises from both sides in both chambers. No Legislator got everything they wanted, but it was a budget that supports tourism, small business, non-profits, education, public safety, and public health—a budget that supports Alaskans. Those who voted against the budget effectively voted for a $525 PFD and risked a government shutdown. That’s a cost I, and many others, were not willing to make Alaskans pay.
Without the necessary votes from the House Minority, the Governor called us back into another special session that starts today, June 23rd.