ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska's U.S. senators spoke up Wednesday on continuing negotiations between the White House and Republican House leaders to avert a "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts, set to take effect Jan. 1 if the two sides don't make a deal this month.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski addressed Alaskans' questions about the looming threat in a telephone media event Wednesday, drawing attention to the scheduled cessation of Bush-era tax cuts and a drastic reduction in federal spending.
Federal budget cuts will affect Alaska significantly. State economist Neal Fried says on average, Alaska spends about 70 percent more federal dollars in its economy per capita than the rest of the country.
Sen. Mark Begich told Channel 2 Wednesday that the Senate passed a bill July 25 which would give tax relief to all Alaskans on the first $250,000 of income earned. The bill is awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives.