JUNEAU – House Speaker Louise Stutes issued the following statement Tuesday in response to a series of public comments by members of the House Minority in support of Power Cost Equalization, the UA Scholars Program, and the WWAMI Regional Medical Education Program.
These vital programs are among the items defunded in the current budget because of the governor’s position that they are subject to a super-majority vote of the Legislature, which so far has failed to pass despite unanimous support from the Alaska House Coalition.
“I thank members of the minority for continuing to work with us toward a solution to Alaska’s structural deficit and to the immediate budget decisions we will face when we return to Juneau later this month. I am especially encouraged to see the minority leader and others in her caucus acknowledge the outcry of Alaskans who expect to see full funding for Power Cost Equalization, scholarships that provide an incentive for our best and brightest students to launch their careers here, and the only program that trains doctors in our state.
When the governor called the third special session, he restricted lawmakers from voting on any of these items or providing for a Permanent Fund Dividend. I am hopeful that today’s comments from the minority indicate a willingness for lawmakers to establish a special session call of our own so that the PFD and programs vital to our state’s economic recovery will no longer continue to hang in the balance.”
— House Speaker Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak)