State commission reverses plan to slash Alaska legislators’ expense checks

An unbiased state wage fee reversed its proposal to slash Alaska lawmakers’ day by day expense checks on Tuesday, as an alternative shifting to go away them in place apart from when legislators are working from residence.

The choice means most legislators would get to maintain drawing the funds of as a lot as $295 a day, which may prime $35,000 over the course of a yr if lawmakers work previous their normal ninety-day deadline in Juneau.

The State Officers Compensation Fee had proposed to slice the funds by almost three-fourths, to $seventy eight — the identical fee paid to state staff within the government department. The proposal would have saved the state almost $1.5 million, which fee members stated was according to the pay cuts and Everlasting Fund dividend reductions that Alaskans have seen amid a recession and large state finances deficit.

The fee’s new proposal, preliminarily permitted at a Tuesday assembly, would cease Juneau’s three legislators from accumulating their discounted funds solely, costing them as a lot as $25,000 a yr.

It additionally would block Anchorage-space lawmakers from accumulating the per diem checks throughout a particular session there. That occurred in 2015, when two Anchorage Republican senators, Cathy Giessel and Lesil McGuire, claimed $5,352 and $7,347, respectively, after particular periods of their hometown, in accordance with an evaluation by the Alaska Public Radio Community.

The fee left intact its earlier proposal to chop legislators’ $50,four hundred salaries by 10 %, to $forty five,360.

The 5-member fee is made up of appointees chosen by the governor, although two are picked from lists submitted by the state Senate president and Home speaker. Members met Tuesday morning on the state-owned Atwood Constructing in downtown Anchorage.

Its up to date suggestions — amended from a earlier model proposed in October — are nonetheless not remaining, and the fee will take public testimony earlier than and through a subsequent assembly that hasn’t been scheduled but.

Finally, the fee will ship its remaining suggestions to the Legislature, which may solely block them from taking impact by passing a invoice to take action inside two months, which should even be signed by the governor.

One of many fee members, Duane Bannock, stated he moved to reverse the preliminary per diem discount as a result of he wasn’t conscious how steep it will be when it was initially proposed.

“I do not assume $seventy eight a day is admittedly the best reply,” Bannock stated in a…

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