Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - How is the work of the special legislative session fairing? That question was put to Juneau State Senator Jesse Kiehl while a guest on Action Line.
"Unfortunately, disappointedly, we're in a little bit of a holding pattern."
Kiehl believes most of the issues with the operating budget are within pretty quick reach of being settled. The biggest thing is how this year's Permanent Fund Dividend will be handled. "That I think has got us a little bit locked up. I suspect that the votes are not going to move very much with time. So I'm pushing my colleagues to bring the compromise number to the floor and get us out of here so we can come back in the August special session that the Governor called and really do the big picture, long-term fiscal plan issues."
Senator Kiehl was asked about the danger of a government shutdown if matters are not resolved by the start of the next fiscal year July 1. He doesn't see a reason to creep up on that date. "I think there's broad agreement that we're not going to do any constitutional amendments here in June. Anything like that that the Governor placed on the call, he's going to need to add to that August call so that we can do all the big picture, long-term fiscal plan stuff together and balance those things against one another."
Senator Kiehl said that includes the Governor's proposal for enshrining the Permanent Fund Dividend program which is part of the call for the current special session.
The call for the second special session now consists of a constitutional spending limit, consideration of new revenue measures, a prohibition on new taxes without voter approval, and appropriation of federal COVID relief funds.
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