The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

Articles written by becky bohrer

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Dividend cut by governor was indeed allowed under Alaska law

JUNEAU: A state court judge ruled a week ago Thursday that Gov. Bill Walker had the authority to reduce this year's Alaska Permanent Fund dividend, siding with the state in the politically charged case. Superior Court Judge William Morse's decision f...

 

Party for election night won't be on Alaska's dime

JUNEAU: It's an election night tradition in Alaska: jubilant candidates followed by chanting, sign-waving supporters parade into a cavernous convention hall, shaking hands and taking their turn at the makeshift TV sets dotting what is known as...

 

Gov. Walker pushes budget agenda as special session begins

State legislators met Monday for their fifth special session in two years, with Gov. Bill Walker saying they need to finish the work of addressing Alaska's gaping budget deficit. But Walker's agenda could face an uphill battle, given that proposals...

 

Lawmakers creep past regular session into overtime Monday

The Alaska Legislature went into overtime Monday as it continued to wrestle with how to confront an estimated $4 billion state budget deficit. House Speaker Mike Chenault said legislative leaders planned to keep working past the voter-approved 90-day...

 

Recession looms for Alaska economic professor warns lawmakers

The collapse in oil prices has left oil-reliant Alaska with a multibillion-dollar budget deficit and few palatable options for digging its way out. With just days left in the legislative session, state political leaders are struggling to get on the...

 

Walker reiterates call for budget plan amid dour forecast

A dour revenue forecast brought with it a warning from Gov. Bill Walker that state legislators need to deliver a plan to address Alaska's multibillion-dollar deficit this year or face a special session. Legislative leaders say Walker has a role to...

 

No clear consensus on how state will balance the budget

With just under a month left in the legislative session, Alaska lawmakers are trying to figure out how to pay the bills given a steep drop in oil revenue that's left the state mired in deficits. There are a plenty of ideas, but there's no clear conse...

 

More cuts considered as Legislature makes tough choices

Alaska legislators are considering budget cuts to agencies that may seem small compared to the estimated $3.5 billion deficit the state is facing amid slumping oil prices. But they could mean big changes for some state services and programs. The...

 

Lawmakers continue the battle of the budget in Juneau

Legislators this coming week will reach the half-way point of the scheduled 90-day session, with the House working toward finalizing its version of the state operating budget and a Senate committee...

 

Lawmakers grappling with proposals to balance the state's coffers

Alaskans this coming week will begin getting a sense for where the House might cut the state budget with subcommittees poised to make spending recommendations. A Senate committee plans to hear...

 

Slow pace of gasline development dismaying to Gov. Walker

Gov. Bill Walker said he wants the state and the North Slope's major producers to reach agreement on key contracts and issues related to a major gas project before the end of the current legislative session. "If agreements are not reached by the end...

 

Lawmakers agree to work together this legislative session

The first week of the new legislative session ended with Gov. Bill Walker and legislative leaders agreeing on a need to work together to confront the state's multibillion-dollar budget deficit. Now,...

 

A look at pre-filed bills coming before lawmakers this week

While the state budget crisis is dominating headlines - a number of bills were pre-filed before the legislature opened Tuesday. Rep. Jim Colver filed a bill that will effectively eliminate the...

 

Dividends shared by Alaskans in record numbers

The manager of a program that lets people donate money from their Alaska Permanent Fund dividends to nonprofits is optimistic they'll continue giving in record numbers if the dividend's size is reduced. While any Alaskan receiving a dividend can...

 

One year after taking office, Gov. Walker looks ahead

Gov. Bill Walker likened his first year in office to moving into a new house that catches fire on move-in day, with low oil prices fueling a massive state budget deficit. But he said his biggest...

 

Medicaid sees 7,700 Alaskans enrolled since September expansion

About 7,700 people have enrolled in an expanded Medicaid program launched by the state on Sept. 1 to cover more lower-income Alaskans, a state health department official said. The agency appears on...

 

Alaska income tax: a closer look at Gov's proposal

If Gov. Bill Walker gets his way, Alaskans will be chipping in to help reduce the state's estimated $3.5 billion budget deficit. Walker has proposed sweeping changes, including instituting an income...

 

Income tax proposed for Alaskans by Gov. Walker

JUNEAU: Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has proposed instituting a personal income tax for the first time in 35 years as the oil-dependent state looks to plug a multibillion-dollar budget deficit amid chronically low prices. In laying out his budget plan...

 

Marijuana rules approved by board after public input

JUNEAU - The board tasked with writing rules for Alaska's recreational marijuana industry voted Friday to allow for people to use pot at certain stores that will sell it, a first among the four states that have legalized the drug. The 3-2 vote by...

 

Competing gaslines still exclude Valdez for now

The big news at the Capitol this past week was Gov. Bill Walker's gas line proposal, one that some legislators fear will create an atmosphere of uncertainty over efforts to bring Alaska's gas to market. The state has been pursuing a major liquefied...

 

Budget woes not only issue concerning lawmakers

The budget continues to be a major focus for state lawmakers, who will be delving into Gov. Bill Walker's spending proposal for next year. Walker released details of his 2016 budget on Thursday. Even...

 

Lawmakers grapple with deficits and voter mandates

The Alaska Legislature begins its first full week of work Monday after an intense start to the new session. The state has a new governor, Bill Walker. And his State of the State and State of the...

 

Big questions weigh down on the Legislature

The big question to answer during the first days of the Legislature: How low will oil prices go? Plunging prices have contributed to massive budget deficits that cuts alone can't erase. Alaska has billions of dollars in its constitutional budget...

 

Permanent Fund Dividend eyed for constitutional protection

An Anchorage lawmaker is proposing a constitutional amendment to further protect the Alaska Permanent Fund and the dividend that most Alaskans receiving simply for living here. The proposal, from Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski, was among the...

 

How do you count Alaska's governors? It depends

Last week, Bill Walker became the 13th governor of Alaska. Or the 11th. Or 16th. Depends on how you count. As it turns out, the state of Alaska doesn't appear to have an official way of counting governors and their terms. Since statehood in 1959,...

 

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