- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2016

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

5:30 p.m.

Gov. Bill Walker says a tax package he’s introduced for the special session is a necessary measure to address the state’s fiscal situation.

In a letter accompanying the bill, Walker says his tax proposals are modest but would make a big difference.

He says citizens are ready to pitch in to solve Alaska’s fiscal crisis and that his tax proposals would result in various industries bearing a share of “needed tax changes.”

He has proposed, among other things, reinstituting a personal state income tax; increasing taxes on cigarettes and alcohol; and raising taxes on the fishing and mining industries.

His bill also addresses marijuana taxes and would allow for people who have more marijuana plants than legally permitted for personal use to be taxed on the excess plants in their possession.

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4:10 p.m.

Personnel and per diem costs tallied for the recently ended extended legislative session so far total about $520,000.

That’s according to figures provided by Jessica Geary, the Legislative Affairs Agency’s finance manager.

The biggest piece of that was for the daily allowance allotted lawmakers, known as per diem, totaling nearly $407,800.

Other items included payroll costs and staff per diem. Geary said by email that not all staff per diem claim forms have been received so those costs likely will rise.

The extended session ran from April 18 to May 18 and ended with lawmakers unable to come to terms on a budget.

Lawmakers Monday began a special session called by Gov. Bill Walker to deal with outstanding issues such as the budget, oil and gas tax credits and elements of a fiscal plan.

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1:35 p.m.

Gov. Bill Walker has added another item to his special session agenda.

It’s a bill that he introduced for the regular session that stalled, calling for establishing an oil and gas infrastructure development program.

That bill joins 10 others Walker is asking lawmakers to consider. The big ones on that list are the budget, oil and gas tax credits and revenue bills.

Walker is giving legislators the option to pick up most of the bills where work left off. But that is expected to require a two-thirds vote in each chamber to accomplish.

Walker also introduced two new bills Monday. One would extend major medical coverage to the survivors of peace officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty. The other contains a number of different tax proposals.

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12:05 p.m.

The Alaska Legislature has convened a special session called by Gov. Bill Walker to address issues unresolved during the recently ended extended regular session, including the budget, oil and gas tax credits and a plan to confront Alaska’s budget deficit.

The House convened after 11 a.m. and the Senate gaveled in shortly after noon.

Lawmakers worked past the voter-approved 90-day session limit and last week adjourned after hitting the 121-day constitutional meeting limit. Disagreement over how far to push changes to the oil and gas tax credit program has continued to be a stumbling block.

The new fiscal year starts July 1. If a budget is not approved by June 1, state workers will receive notices warning of potential layoffs.

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11:15 a.m.

The Alaska House has convened the special session called by Gov. Bill Walker to address numerous issues unresolved during the extended regular session, including the budget, oil and gas tax credits and a plan to confront Alaska’s budget deficit.

The Senate was expected to convene around noon Monday.

Lawmakers worked past the voter-approved 90-day session limit and last week adjourned after hitting the 121-day constitutional meeting limit after they were unable to agree on extending a bit longer. Disagreement over how far to push changes to the oil and gas tax credit program has continued to be a major stumbling block.

The new fiscal year starts July 1. But if a budget is not approved by June 1, notices warning of potential layoffs will be sent to state workers.

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8:40 a.m.

The Alaska Legislature was slated Monday to begin a special session called by Gov. Bill Walker to address numerous issues unresolved during the extended regular session, including the budget, oil and gas tax credits and a plan to confront Alaska’s budget deficit.

Lawmakers worked past the voter-approved 90-day session limit and last week adjourned after hitting the 121-day constitutional meeting limit. They were unable to agree on extending a bit longer.

Disagreement over how much to change the oil and gas tax credit program has continued to be a stumbling block.

If a budget is not approved by June 1, notices warning of potential layoffs will be sent to state workers as part of what Walker says is a contractual obligation. The new fiscal year starts July 1.

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