Alaska governor sees differences between this year and last

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Alaska Gov. Bill Walker says he’s no longer worried about the Legislature’s ability to make hard decisions about the state’s fiscal future.

Walker says there is a big difference between this year and last, when lawmakers failed to agree on a long-term plan to address Alaska’s multibillion-dollar deficit.

This year, the House and Senate each passed bills that would use earnings from Alaska’s oil-wealth fund to help cover costs. Similar legislation died in the House last year after passing the Senate.

Differences still must be resolved on that bill and others, including the budget and oil taxes and credits. But Walker thinks the 30-day special session, which began Thursday, will be productive.

He says flags have been planted at extremes but there’s a lot of room in between for solutions.

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