Forget about the ferries. Reschedule your wedding. Don’t think about pull tabs.
Alaska’s impending government shutdown will have a tsunami of effects across the state, government leaders said on Thursday, with implications for every man, woman and child in the state.
“This is unprecedented. This has never happened in the history of Alaska that we’ve had to face this kind of shutdown,” said Gov. Bill Walker in a brief press conference with reporters.
If the Alaska Legislature fails to pass a state budget by July 1 and come up with the money to pay for that budget, state services will all but end and Alaska will be plunged into a constitutional crisis.
Walker and the state’s 18 department leaders released their preliminary tally of shutdown effects Thursday, and the governor has convened an extraordinary incident command panel — one normally used in natural disasters — to cope with the shutdown.
Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth will head the panel, befitting for a moment that may be a political disaster.
Alaska’s Constitution gives the Alaska Legislature all authority on appropriations, but if the Legislature fails to appropriate any money in the fiscal year that begins July 1, it will be violating other portions of the constitution that require the Legislature to “provide for the promotion and protection of public health” and “the public welfare.”