The Latest: Meyer sees Senate work as largely done

    Senate approves changes to state oil and gas tax credits, passes plan to use Alaska Permanent Fund earnings to help fund state government.

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the Alaska Legislature's special session (all times local):

    12:50 p.m.

    Senate President Kevin Meyer says he sees the work by his chamber as largely done after it approved changes to state oil and gas tax credits and passed a plan to use Alaska Permanent Fund earnings to help fund state government.

    The Senate approved both bills Monday, as lawmakers sought to finish what they could ahead of the start of the Alaska Native gathering known as Celebration. Hotel rooms booked for the event starting Wednesday meant some lawmakers will be losing their rooms for a few days and prompted plans for a break in the special session the rest of this week.

    The House also approved the compromise tax credit bill but the permanent fund bill remains in committee. Three tax bills from Gov. Bill Walker are positioned for a floor vote in the House, provided they have support to move.

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    8:05 a.m.

    Gov. Bill Walker's proposal to use Alaska's oil wealth nest egg to help address the state's bulging budget deficit has taken a step forward.

    The state Senate late Monday passed legislation allowing for draws from Alaska Permanent Fund earnings based on a percentage of the fund's market value. The bill would not erase the deficit but would narrow it.

    The measure is the cornerstone of Walker's plan to address the deficit, and Monday's vote puts pressure on the House to act. The House Finance Committee, which has been reviewing the proposal, plans to consider the bill next week.

    Walker thanked the Senate for taking what he called a bold step but said even with that piece, the work to put Alaska on a sustainable path is far from over.

     

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