JUNEAU (AP) -- Rep. Bill Hudson, R-Juneau, who founded a controversial bipartisan group of lawmakers that pushed for new taxes to fix the state's chronic budget problems, will not seek re-election.
In an emotional speech on the House floor on Tuesday, the 69-year-old Hudson said he not seek an eighth term to the House.
Hudson co-founded the Fiscal Policy Caucus, a group of moderate Republicans and Democrats who pushed the Legislature to address the so-called ''fiscal gap.''
Alaska's depends on oil revenues for about 80 percent of its funding. As production or prices drop, the state often finds itself with budget shortfalls. Alaska's $2.4 billion Constitutional Budget Reserve had made up past shortfalls, but that account is expected to be empty by 2004.
Hudson's group had proposed various taxes and revenue-raising measures to close the shortfall. Hudson had sponsored an income tax bill and had been a proponent of using permanent fund earnings to fund state government.
The group's work often led to clashes with House Republican leaders and those in the more conservative Senate.
Hudson, a retired U.S. Coast Guard officer and former commissioner of the Department of Administration under Gov. Jay Hammond, said he valued the experience he had with Fiscal Policy Caucus.
''We stood up, we put our names on tough issues and we voted our conscience, not for a (political) party but for the people we serve,'' Hudson said.
Hudson said he was stepping aside to allow someone younger to run for the seat and plans to spend more time with his grandchildren. No one has filed to run for the House seat. The deadline for filing is June 1.
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