Governor says he 'can't amend' agenda for session - huh? - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, October 20, 2021
HomePoliticsGovernor says he ‘can’t amend’ agenda for session — huh?

Governor says he ‘can’t amend’ agenda for session — huh?

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A photo of Governor Bill Walker

Gov. Bill Walker earlier this week.

‘IT’S NOT WITHIN MY POWER’

Gov. Bill Walker held a brief press conference today to discuss the progress of the special session and the impending shutdown of state government in nine days.

And then he did something he may live to regret.

He answered a question from KTVA reporter Liz Raines, who asked why he doesn’t limit the call of the special session to the budget. Why not take everything off the call but the budget and avoid a government shutdown?

Walker responded, “I can’t take anything off the call. My role is once I put something on the call, it stays there.”

“Once I put something on the call, it’s not within my powers to remove it from the call.” – Gov. Bill Walker

But that’s not the case.

In October of 2015, Walker did amend his call for special session. He withdrew “an act to monetize certain natural gas reserves through the levy of a gas reserves tax. This proclamation supplements my proclamation of September 24, 2015.” Apparently, amending a special session call is only legal when he wishes it to be:

INSTEAD, A PLETHORA OF NEWS RELEASES

Meanwhile, instead of narrowing his focus to passing a budget, the governor issued a series of 15 press releases from his different departments today, describing the crisis that is about to hit Alaska if government shuts down on July 2 and putting together an incident command structure for when there is no government.

A review of history shows that removing items from a call for special session is rather ordinary:

Gov. Sean Parnell removed something from a call. In 2012, he removed oil tax reform, saying the bipartisan working group in the Senate appeared “incapable of passing comprehensive oil tax reform.”

Gov. Frank Murkowski completely rescinded his call for special session.

In fact, Alaska’s strong-governor form of government gives Walker broad powers to do just about anything, including shut the government down.

Instead of saying he “can’t” take items off his call for special session, Walker might have been more transparent by saying: “I’m choosing not to take anything off the call because I need to frighten my 20,000 employees in order to get my income tax, higher oil taxes, and higher motor fuel taxes.”

Rather than transparency, we get a blizzard of press releases.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • A crisis of his and his democrat bedfellows own making, one they can stop at any moment but so far have chosen not to. Alaskans need to tell their representatives what they think.

  • you should really look at the facts. I was there and you are wrong on the facts.

    • Maybe if you where ever really in Juneau you could figure out what”s really going on here… Instead of relying on some of the staffers and lobbyists to write all your stuff…

  • Blanket is either a d’rat or a State employee… Walker’s brinkmanship is partly-digested baloney of the most odorous variety. The math is simple, not rocket science. Fill the pipeline or cut gov’t expenditures – which means employees or salaries – we don’t need to cut services. I say let’s fill the pipe, and try to diversify into more State-revenue producing industries, before the oil runs out in 200 years.

  • Gas, oil, and coal competete against each other in resource economics. We need to invest in refineries and cartel opec by consuming and selling all three.

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