Parnell Refuses Stevens’ Request for Meeting with Caucus

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Jay Barrett/KMXT

The president of the Alaska Senate says he wants his caucus to meet with Governor Sean Parnell over the budget standoff, which has pushed the legislature into special session.

Kodiak Senator Gary Stevens said yesterday afternoon that he and Senator Kevin Meyer first met with the House majority about the standoff, which is in its second week.

(Stevens 1 12 sec "It’s an unusually thing for … what our concerns are.")

The legislative standoff involves language the Senate has attached to the capital budget which they hope would insulate individual projects from Parnell’s veto pen.

(Stevens 2 30 sec "That’s extremely important to … its appropriating power.")

Stevens detailed nearly a half-dozen concessions the Senate has made in trying to break the impasse, including cutting school maintenance funds, reduce state debt, and agreeing to a 50 percent match, down from a 100 percent match, on energy projects. He said there has been no response or counter-offer from the House on any of the offers.

Parnell had threatened to veto money for projects in districts of legislators who opposed his $2-billion a year tax break for oil companies operating in Alaska. Stevens described that threat as what "poisoned" the relationship between Parnell and the House on one side and the Senate on the other. Subsequently, Parnell softened his stance on the vetoes, but Stevens says senators want to hear that for themselves.

(Stevens 3 39 sec "I think it’s important the … in fact his position.")

That offer was made yesterday evening at a meeting between Stevens and Parnell. According to Stevens’ office, the governor declined the invitation to meet with the caucus. There has been no comment from the governor’s office.

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