- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The Latest on the extended Alaska legislative session (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

Senate President Kevin Meyer doesn’t think there’s broad support in his chamber for a restructuring of Alaska Permanent Fund earnings.

He said that not including tax bills, that will be the hardest bill for the Senate to pass.

Rewrites of Gov. Bill Walker’s bill calling for structured annual draws from permanent fund earnings and changes to the dividend program are pending in the House and Senate Finance committees.

During a House hearing Tuesday, Rep. Les Gara said he worries that provisions of the rewrite reducing the payout from earnings as oil prices rise are a “pathway to austerity” since they limit the revenue available to address areas that have been cut in recent years.

Attorney General Craig Richards says the provisions speak to concerns about budget volatility and growing government when oil prices rise.

___

1:20 p.m.

Minority legislators have outlined a litany of concerns with the state’s oil and gas tax and credit structure, with one Democratic senator calling the need to make fixes to the system a “line in the sand.”

Debate over how far to push changes to the credit system has proven a stumbling block for legislators. Resolution on the issue is seen as key to making further progress on the budget and revenue bills.

Gov. Bill Walker proposed eliminating certain credits and raising the minimum tax on North Slope producers, an idea that’s been a hard sell. Some lawmakers worry about the impact big changes will have on an industry hit by low oil prices.

Sen. Bill Wielechowski says Democrats have sought fixes to the oil tax structure and are drawing a line in the sand to fix the problem.


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