Alaska House leaders hopeful for budget deal by Monday

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska House leaders expressed optimism Friday that an agreement was near that could avert a partial government shutdown.

House Speaker Louise Stutes said she was confident a resolution would be reached by Monday on the spending package's effective date.

“I'm happy to say that I believe there's going to be a resolution, and there will not be a state shutdown,” Stutes said.

House Minority Leader Cathy Tilton said she also felt optimistic.

Neither leader provided details on a possible agreement.

The Legislature last week passed a spending package Gov. Mike Dunleavy called “defective.” He noted in particular the House's failure to reach the two-thirds threshold on a procedural effective date vote.

Attorney General Treg Taylor has sued over the issue, arguing in court documents that due to the failed effective date vote, the soonest the budget could take effect is in September. The new fiscal year starts Thursday.

The House majority coalition has 21 members, meaning it needs help from minority Republicans to get the necessary 27 votes for the effective date clause. Some minority Republicans expressed frustration with what they saw a strong-arm budget tactics and said they wanted to be included in talks on what pieces should be considered as part of a broader fiscal plan.

Becky Bohrer, The Associated Press

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