House Bill 379 would freeze state worker salaries until the price of oil rises above $90 a barrel. Oil is currently trading at $42. Earlier this year, Governor Bill Walker introduced an income tax -- the first in 36 years in Alaska. He called for a state hiring freeze, but critics have pointed out that only 90 state jobs, filled by actual workers, have been eliminated, and hundreds of state jobs have escaped the hiring freeze. Meanwhile, the step-and-merit increases are the most generous in the country.
As the State of Alaska is burning through its savings at the rate of $400,000 an hour. According to the Alaska Chamber of Commerce, automatic state raises cost the budget $70 million a year.
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