Pink slips? No state budget? Seaton has the reins - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, September 28, 2021
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Pink slips? No state budget? Seaton has the reins

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An anonymously sent flyer went to some Alaskans two weeks ago blaming Rep. Paul Seaton for leading the charge on an income tax. Now, he has refused to call a meeting of the conference committee on the state’s budget, HB 57, until he gets that income tax passed by the Senate. He is the presiding officer of that committee.

It’s been 16 days since the conference committee for the State operating budget met.

The first and only time the committee met was on May 15, for an organizational meeting called by Rep. Paul Seaton, who is the presiding chair of the committee. He leads the House Democrats’ side of the bargaining table.

What does the presiding chair do? He calls the meetings. He sets the schedule for resolving the differences between the House and Senate versions of HB 57, the operating budget for 2018.

Seaton has said there will be no budget until there is a state income tax, HB 115. And the Senate won’t pass an income tax. The Senate majority, who are mainly Republicans, say SB 26 means there is no need for an income tax.

Has Seaton dug in his heels and will he let state government shut down because he can’t get his $700 million income tax?

[Read: Income Tax? You’re going to need an accountant.]

Today, Gov. Bill Walker’s administration emailed 20,000 layoff notices to state workers. It the Legislature fails to pass a budget by July 1, the government ceases to operate because it has no authority to pay anyone.

The layoff notice was just the warm-up act for the official pink slips, which will be sent through the mail on Thursday.

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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

  • Keelhaul ‘im and his ilk. Senate please stand firm.

  • Part of the problem is that you elected officials need to know who you work for. You work for Alaskans and not yourselves. Refusing to even try to cut the budget and charge hard working Alaskan for you to sit in Juneau and not do anything in over 90 days then in a special session is completely unfair to every Alaskan that you are suppose to work for. You’re sitting in Juneau getting paid almost $300 a day per diem while some children can’t even afford to eat. You want to take money from the Permanent Fund Dividend when families struggle with how to heat their homes or feed their children with those funds. Half of the divend was taken becaus the governor decided we didn’t deserve that money and was spent on the wasteful spending of the government. The lawmakers here need to figure out how to live within their means like every Alaskan does. Quit wasting money on stupid thing and start working for the people who employ you like me. When I hear on the news that you people in the government won’t even sit in the same room to talk out your differences it concerncerns me. Oil companies are getting rich of our land while not paying their fair share. They hire from out of our state and go to their home state spending all the money they just made here while an Alaskan has a hard time finding a good paying job. Instead of penalizing an Alaskan Resident by taxing them, tax the people that come here to work from out of state and leave to their home state to spend.

    • Well said, Tharon. Holding the Budget hostage to an income tax isn’t going to fly. And SB 26 is not the solution to anything. The Permanent Fund needs to be protected, and the Dividend should not be a “may appropriate” add on to the Budget. They can already use half the annual Earnings to fund government without any new restructure Bill. The deficit is no longer a problem, just the undiminished desire to Cut and Cap the Dividend and Tax Alaskans. Nothing is out of reach here… just legislative over reach !

  • There has been a serious problem for almost 40 years in Alaska. We eliminated the income tax – we should never have done that. Alaska should have kept a very small income tax in place during the big oil years so that when things got lean, it wouldn’t be so difficult to increase if needed. There is a group of Alaska senators who right now are absolutely terrified that if they vote for an income tax, they won’t get reelected. They know it’s needed, but they don’t want to lose their jobs – they are career politicians – making the right decision is tough (darn near impossible) for them. They’ve seen the budget – they know what is needed. They lack the backbone to do it. The state budget cuts already happened – we’re at the blood from a turnip stage – not looking very promising for closing the gap.

    So many people come to Alaska to work – they use our airports, our roads, our city’s and state’s infrastructure. And they contribute almost nothing for that privilege. Then they take or send much of their earnings home. An income tax would affect all Alaskans, but more importantly, it would finally get something from those who contribute very little and take very much.

    • WHO SAYS IF YOU RE-ELECT A REPUBLICAN, HE WILL STAY A REPUBLICAN? Sorry, whose idea was it to put the caps lock next to the shift key? You elect a candidate in the primary and they just put some one else in their place (Walker). There is no punishment at the ballot box any more.

  • Had we kept the income tax in Alaska, people would not have ignored the spending in Juneau, nor been as tolerant for the shenanigans ongoing.
    Fiscal responsibility rests with us, the people, not in Juneau. We keep telling our legislators not to spend, but they do anyway. And, we keep sending the same people back time and again.
    We have only ourselves to blame for what is going on in Juneau.
    Bill Walker is a walking disaster as a governor, as was Sarah Palin.
    Now, we pay and pay some more for our lack of responsibility in not paying closer attention to what happened over the years.
    The state failed to diversify the economy, because the state distributes the income–thank you Jay Hammond, et al. The PFD made us forget about what happens if a gov’t goes unconstrained by the voter.
    This grow gov’t socialist mentality is what got us into this mess and, again, we have only ourselves to blame.

  • Tax lovers…name a state that has had their economy improve by implementing a state income tax. Plus, can you foresee the state spending required to get a state tax in place, the bloat of more state bureaucracy?…let’s see, we need a director, asst director, assistant to the assistant director, admin dir, legal division with a slew of enforcement officials. The managerial tree will be huge, all making over 100k.,printing and public service announcements, mailing fees, IT admin with a slew of techs, it’s a government bonanza. And only the working class will pay for it.

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