Alaska legislators will return to Juneau for the 2018 legislative session Tuesday. The top priority is to fix the state’s budget crisis. If lawmakers do nothing this year, the state’s savings will run out. Both the Senate and House agree on part of the plan to fix the problem, using Permanent Fund earnings to fund government, but legislators from both chambers disagree on how to fill the rest of the gap. Senate Republicans say budget cuts will fix the crisis, but members of the House say that isn’t enough and want to implement a broad-based tax.
Alaska Republican Party leaders voted Saturday to block Homer Rep. Paul Seaton, Anchorage Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux and Rep. Louise Stutes of Kodiak from running in the party’s 2018 primaries.
All three representatives joined Democrats and independents last fall to form a bipartisan coalition, taking control of the House away from Republicans. The Republican Party’s state central committee said that violated a party rule about caucusing with other political parties and that the legislators misled voters when the joined the coalition.