ALASKA JOURNAL OF COMMERCE
Here’s hoping House Speaker Bryce Edgmon hasn’t gotten too attached to his gavel.
The once high-riding Democrat-led Majority in the House had a stake driven through its heart on June 5 when it was abandoned by Gov. Bill Walker, its one-time ally on raising oil taxes and bringing back a state income tax.
By immediately rejecting Walker’s compromise package that did not include an income tax, increased oil taxes or their preferred amount for the Permanent Fund Dividend, the rookie leaders of the House have set themselves up as the fall guys if the government shuts down with no budget by July 1.
It may be just posturing, as Senate President Pete Kelly mused while his caucus took a more measured and conciliatory attitude toward Walker’s proposed compromise that came down heavily in favor of its position.
Are the House Democrats really so wedded to their demand for an income tax that they are willing to push the state to the brink of a shutdown?
So far, they sound like it.
Not that it was ever a great idea to hitch their policy wagon to raising taxes on an economy in recession, but House Democrats are quickly becoming Ahab to the white whale of taxes.
With the governor now essentially aligned with the Senate on the greatest issues facing the Legislature — including its plan to pay off nearly $300 million in old oil tax credits using the Statutory Budget Reserve — the House has set itself up as the odd man out.
No doubt it must be a bitter pill to swallow considering it was just seven months ago the new Majority held a celebratory press conference following the November election as Democrats took the reins of power in the House for the first time in more than a decade.