Alaska lawmakers reach deal to avert deficit, but final vote awaits

Alaska lawmakers have agreed upon a plan to avert a statewide government shutdown, but at press time Thursday, the Alaska Legislature’s various factions were struggling to find enough votes to approve the deal.

At 1:04 p.m. Thursday afternoon, a joint House-Senate conference committee approved a compromise budget that funds state government past July 1 using savings from Alaska’s Constitutional Budget Reserve. The agreement ends more than a month of work to reconcile contradictory spending plans passed by the House and Senate.

“This is very much a compromise budget, and that’s what we’ve been down here working on,” said Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer and House chairman of the conference committee.

The agreement must be approved by a vote of the full Senate and by a vote of the full House, but that didn’t appear to be a sure thing on Thursday afternoon despite the consequences of failure.

To use the Constitutional Budget Reserve requires a three-quarters vote of the House and a three-quarters vote of the Senate. Without those votes, the deal will fail.

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