State budget the focus as Legislature prepares to meet

Alaska’s budget deficit is expected to be the focus of the legislative session beginning this week.

But the road to a solution could be rocky, with differing ideas for how to help close the hole and difficult choices that could significantly impact state services.

Some Republican legislative leaders want far deeper cuts than the governor has proposed. Some lawmakers want to pursue cost savings in areas like Medicaid and the state correctional system.

The director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage says some discussions are inevitable. Gunnar Knapp says state officials will have to discuss things like taxes and use of earnings from the Alaska Permanent Fund.