Alaska Governor Vetoes $3 Billion From Budget as Oil Taxes Lag

Alaska Governor Bill Walker vetoed $3 billion from the state budget and said he may have to furlough government workers as lawmakers remain at odds over how to deal with a deficit caused by plummeting oil taxes and royalties.

Walker on Monday vetoed the unfunded portion of a $5 billion spending plan sent to him by the legislature May 12, saying it was the “least detrimental” choice he faced.

The state funds about 90 percent of its budget from oil taxes and royalties, which have dropped as a result of depressed crude prices.

Lawmakers sent Walker, an independent, the spending plan without saying how they would pay for most state services. They have been meeting in a special session ever since in an effort to approve tapping into the state’s $10 billion rainy-day reserve account to fill the gap. Approval requires a two-thirds vote, and they’re at an impasse over $90 million in spending.

“It is time to stop debating the merits of the $90 million differences in cuts, so we can begin the discussion on how to solve the $3 billion deficit,” Walker said in a statement. “I urge legislators to come back to the negotiating table and reach a compromise for the good of Alaska.”