This week (May 9, 2017) on The Michael Dukes Show …

Each Tuesday morning at 7:20 am Alaska, I join KBYR AM700‘s The Michael Dukes Show to discuss the latest in Alaska oil and fiscal issues. This week Michael and I discuss the deepening Alaska recession, how both bodies of the Alaska legislature are proposing to make it even worse, and we break down the numbers of how much cash the state has this year to pay its bills and what happens if the Governor and Legislature don’t agree on a “permanent” fiscal plan (spoiler alert, we are fine). For those interested, the spreadsheet we use to walk through the numbers is available here: goo.gl/16sXnm

We have started publishing our weekly discussions both on YouTube and Soundcloud. Listen at the widget above for this week’s show on YouTube.  For those interested, our YouTube page is here.

Listen here for this week’s show on Soundcloud. For past episodes on Soundcloud, go here.

This week (May 2, 2017) on The Michael Dukes Show …

Each Tuesday morning at 7:20 am Alaska, I join KBYR AM700‘s The Michael Dukes Show to discuss the latest in Alaska oil and fiscal issues. This week Michael and I discuss the current status of each #AKleg body’s fiscal plan, where that process is headed, the surprising and strong resurgence of #AKoil in the midst of that & what that should mean to the #AKfiscal debate (but hasn’t yet).

We have started publishing our weekly discussions both on YouTube and Soundcloud. Listen at the widget above for this week’s show on YouTube.  For those interested, our YouTube page is here.

Listen here for this week’s show on Soundcloud. For past episodes on Soundcloud, go here.

Our response to Senator Kelly …

Earlier this week the Alaska Senate Majority started running a social media ad featuring a video of Senate President Pete Kelly advocating for the Senate’s proposed fiscal plan.  The Senate’s plan relies solely on PFD cuts to raise “new revenue.”

The purpose of the ad is to compare the Senate’s plan against the House plan, which relies on a combination of PFD cuts and an income tax to raise “new revenue.”  The ad focuses on the income tax portion and argues both that it is unnecessary and adversely affects “working Alaskans.”  The Senate’s ad is available here.

As readers of these pages will know, we oppose PFD cuts as part of a proposed “fiscal solution.”  Based on various analyses published last year and this by the Institute of Social and Economic Research, we have come to believe that cutting the PFD is the worst step to take from the perspective of the overall Alaska economy and working Alaska families.  It reduces overall Alaska income more than any other fiscal option, reduces both income and jobs more than any other “new revenue” option, increases poverty levels and income disparity more than any other fiscal option and as ISER concluded in an additonal analysis earlier this year:

A cut in PFDs would be by far the costliest measure for Alaska families.

As a result, after thinking about the Senate Majority’s ad, we put together our response.  Readers can play it at the video above, or on YouTube, here.

#KeepThePFD 3

This is the third piece in our a radio and social media campaign focused on urging legislators to retain the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend as it currently is. The first two are here and here.

This piece is introduced in our social media campaign this way:

Economists tell us depositing the PFD directly into the pockets of Alaskans produces more Alaska income than if redirected to and spent by government. Simply put, we Alaskans produce more income — generate more money in the economy — if WE spend the money rather than government.

Alaska already is in a recession, if you agree with us that taking even more money out of the Alaska economy during these uncertain times through a PFD cut is the wrong step for Alaska, contact your legislator by email, text, by posting on Facebook or Twitter with one simple message — tell them you want them to KEEP THE PFD AS IT IS (a sample email and contact information for members of the legislature is available here: https://goo.gl/BT2BAz). Then, repost this video so that your friends do the same. For continuing updates and commentary on Alaska’s fiscal situation, like, follow and engage with us at Alaskans for Sustainable Budgets. #KeepThePFD

As we have discussed often on these pages, we believe retaining the PFD as it is, is an important part of developing a long term, sustainable Alaska budget and overall economy.  If you agree, please support the effort in the ways we describe in our social media post above.

We’ll take this …

2017-04-06Yesterday we received word that that the news aggregator “Feedspot” has included this blog in its listing of the global “Top 60 Oil and Gas Blogs and Websites.”  We are listed at No. 44 and the only one listed whose specific focus is on Alaska.

According to Feedspot, the ranking is based on: (1) Google reputation and Google search ranking, (2) influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites, (3) quality and consistency of posts, and (4) Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review.

If nothing else we appreciate the ranking because it has enabled us to identify some additional blogs focused on similar issues that we hadn’t been aware of before.  Readers can check out the full list, and perhaps similarly decide to follow a few more, here.

Another from our Medium page: Reason № 3 behind why the Alaska economy is in a recession and potentially, about to get worse …

facepalmPublisher’s Note:  As readers of these pages may recall Alaskans for Sustainable Budgets also maintains a separate blog providing news & commentary on Alaska fiscal and economic policy on national website Medium.  The following piece appeared first on that website.  ______________________________

Yesterday in response to a question during the Fairbanks presentation of the Alaska Senate Majority’s Fiscal Plan Senator Click Bishop said that he had started talking to colleagues about developing an “economic stimulus plan” of various capital projects. The question and response begins at about 54:00 of the following video. Fortunately, I was sitting out of the frame, so my resulting facepalm is not recorded for posterity.

In many ways, Sen. Bishop’s response tells you all you ever need to know about why the Alaska economy is in the shape it is, and why it will become worse if either the current Alaska Senate Majority or Alaska House Majority Coalition fiscal plans are enacted.

Alaska already has what many economists view as an outstanding and long term “economic stimulus plan.” It’s the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD). According to a March 2016 analysis by the University of Alaska-Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), each $1 distributed as a PFD in Alaska produces about $1.40 in income in the overall Alaska economy. As “stimulus” packages go that’s an extremely good bang for the buck.

As significantly, according to the March 2016 and subsequent ISER studies the PFD also materially reduces state poverty levels and helps reduce income disparity, both also very important economic objectives.

But that program is troublesome to some because it puts the dollars — and economic decisions — in the hands of individual Alaskans, rather than government. So, rather than do whatever it takes to maintain the program during an increasingly serious economic recession, the majority caucuses in both bodies are currently proposing to curtail it severely and move roughly half of the dollars — and resulting control over how those dollars are spent — over to government, substituting instead things like Senator Bishop’s “economic stimulus plan” to help drive the economy. Continue reading

From our Medium page: If Alaska is going to implement PFD cuts, then it should implement a state income tax also …

2016_03_30-ShortrunEconomicImpactsOfAlaskaFiscalOptions (p. III-9)

Source:  Institute of Social & Economic Research, “Short-run economic impacts of Alaska Fiscal Options” at III -9.

Publisher’s Note:  As readers of these pages may recall Alaskans for Sustainable Budgets also maintains a separate blog providing news & commentary on Alaska fiscal and economic policy on national website Medium.  The following piece appeared first on that website.     ______________________________

Let’s be clear on this to start. We oppose state income taxes.

We oppose them for the same reason that others will assert as well, because of the adverse effect on the Alaska economy and families.

But let’s also be clear about something else, if that is your reason for opposing an income tax, then you should have opposed the PFD cut as well. Why? Because, according to ISER’s March and October 2016 studies, cutting the PFD has a larger adverse impact on overall Alaska income and jobs — the Alaska economy and families — than an income tax. Continue reading

#KeepThePFD 2

As we mentioned in a post last week we have started a radio and social media campaign focused on urging legislators to retain the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend as it currently is. The ad above is the second in the series (the first is here). The audio is the radio campaign ad.

The second ad is introduced in our social media campaign this way:

We believe the full PFD should stay in the pockets of Alaskans rather than be used by government to help fund special interests. If you agree, contact your legislator by email, text, by posting on Facebook or Twitter with one simple message — tell them you want them to KEEP THE PFD AS IT IS (to help get you started, a draft of an email and contact information for members of the Senate and House is available here: https://goo.gl/BT2BAz). Then, repost this video so that your friends do the same. For continuing updates and commentary on Alaska’s fiscal situation, like, follow and engage with us at Alaskans for Sustainable Budgets. #KeepThePFD

As we have discussed often on these pages, we believe retaining the PFD as it is, is an important part of developing a long term, sustainable Alaska budget and overall economy.  If you agree, please support the effort in the ways we describe in our social media post above.

#KeepThePFD

As the next step in our efforts, yesterday we started a radio and social media campaign focused on urging legislators to retain the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend as it currently is.  The ad above is the first in the series. The audio is the radio campaign ad.

The social media campaign is introduced by this post:

We believe the full PFD should stay in the pockets of Alaskans rather than be used by government to help fund special interests. If you agree, contact your legislator by email, text, by posting on Facebook or Twitter and tell them you want them to #KeepThePFD. Their contact information can be found at http://akleg.gov. Then, repost this video so that your friends do the same. For continuing updates and commentary on Alaska’s fiscal situation, like, follow and engage with us at Alaskans for Sustainable Budgets.

We are taking this step because, for the reasons we have explained on these pages, we believe strongly that the Alaska legislature is headed in the wrong direction on this issue and are willing to put our money where our mouth is.

Why Hammond 50/50 works …

When asked about alternative proposals to address Alaska’s current fiscal situation that are founded on using Governor Hammond’s original vision for the Permanent Fund, the current Administration and, now, apparently, the Senate Republicans are falling back on the same mantra — “the numbers don’t work.”

Well, the numbers do work and we capture the reasons why in this slide deck.  Use the right revenue forecast, start using the “other half” of the annual revenues from the Permanent Fund for the purpose intended by Governor Hammond (to help fund “essential government services”), view and use the accumulated amount in the earnings reserve account for what it was originally intended (as a savings account to help fund “essential government services” during low points in the oil price cycle) and maintain total UGF spending at last year’s $4.3 billion (the sustainable budget number) adjusted going forward for inflation and population change (growth or decline) and Alaska’s fiscal situation stabilizes, without PFD cuts or taxes.

Going further, by cutting the PFD as the Administration (SB 26), House Majority (HB 115) and now Senate Majority (SB 70) have proposed and, in some instances, imposing additional taxes on top of that (as the Administration and House propose) leads to even more erosion in overall Alaska income, huge increases in statewide poverty levels and vastly increased income disparity between high income Alaskans on the one hand, and middle and low income Alaskans on the other.

In short, all three bills make Alaska’s overall recession worse, and in Alaska’s version of Simon Legree, focuses its most harsh effects on those who can afford it least.

We outline why Governor Hammond’s 50/50 vision works, and the adverse effect on Alaskans by going further, in this slide deck from last week’s presentation at one of the World Trade Center Anchorage’s periodic “Meet & Brief” luncheons.  We encourage readers to review it if you haven’t before, and to share it if you agree with the approach and want others to be aware of it as well.

________________________________________

This post first appeared on Alaskans for Sustainable Budgets, a blog focused on News & Commentary on Alaska fiscal and economic policy on national website Medium.

 

This week (April 25, 2017) on The Michael Dukes Show …

Each Tuesday morning at 7:20 am Alaska, I join KBYR AM700‘s The Michael Dukes Show to discuss the latest in Alaska oil and fiscal issues. This week Michael and I discuss why those fighting an income tax but supporting PFD cuts are being hypocritical, the significance of a new analysis from the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy (“Comparing the Distributional Impact of Revenue Options in Alaska”), and our quick views on the Senate’s rewrite of the House’s oil tax change.

We have started publishing our weekly discussions both on YouTube and Soundcloud. Listen at the widget above for this week’s show on YouTube.  For those interested, our YouTube page is here.

Listen here for this week’s show on Soundcloud. For past episodes on Soundcloud, go here.

This week (April 11, 2017) on The Michael Dukes Show …

Each Tuesday morning at 7:20 am Alaska, I join KBYR AM700‘s The Michael Dukes Show to discuss the latest in Alaska oil and fiscal issues. This week Michael and I discuss why the House passage of HB 111 (the oil tax bill) is the right thing to do at the moment, and why Sen. Natasha Von Imhof’s recent piece in the ADN defending the Senate’s version of a fiscal solution (“Better a temporary deficit than an income tax,” goo.gl/pkjOAL) is wrong.

We have started publishing our weekly discussions both on YouTube and Soundcloud. Listen at the widget above for this week’s show on YouTube.  For those interested, our YouTube page is here.

Listen here for this week’s show on Soundcloud. For past episodes on Soundcloud, go here.

Our discussion on fiscal policy (and a few other things) on KFAR’s “Problem Corner” …

Last Monday (April 3, 2017) I joined host David Pruhs on Fairbanks radio station KFAR 660 AM‘s regular program “Problem Corner.”

We were on an hour, and after opening with what had brought me to Fairbanks and a bit of my background (“how long have you been in Alaska and what brought you here”), we launched right in to a discussion of Alaska’s fiscal situation, my views on what the solution should be and why maintaining the PFD at 50% of earnings as originally envisioned by Governor Hammond is a critically important piece of that.

A YouTube version of the discussion is at the link above.  For those who prefer listening on SoundCloud, a link to the discussion on that format is here.

Chris Story & I discuss an income tax …

Yesterday, Chris Story invited me to join him on his Homer-based “Alaska Matters Radio” program to discuss the proposal by some (including his home town State Representative, Paul Seaton) to institute an Alaska state income tax.  Chris’ interest was triggered by a recent piece I did on our Medium blog:  Reason № 3 behind why the Alaska economy is in a recession and potentially, about to get worse …“.

On our way to that topic we also managed to work in a discussion about the current status of the Alaska economy, the effect on that of the PFD cut made last year by Governor Walker and proposed to be made permanent by the Governor and others in the legislature, former Governor Jay Hammond’s approach to the use of earnings from the Permanent Fund and my recent meeting with Governor Walker to discuss my approach to addressing Alaska’s current fiscal situation.  A podcast of the discussion is available above or here.

This week (April 4, 2017) on The Michael Dukes Show …

Each Tuesday morning at 7:20 am Alaska, I join KBYR AM700‘s The Michael Dukes Show to discuss the latest in Alaska oil and fiscal issues. This week Michael and I discuss why I would be a no vote on the Alaska Senate Majority’s proposed Operating Budget, their claim and others that they “already” have reduced state spending by “44%,” why Nat Herz has it right in a recent ADN piece (“With 2 weeks left in session, Alaska House and Senate look as deadlocked as Day 1“), and what that means on where the #AKLeg goes from here. The clip starts at my segment.

Listen here or at the widget below for this week’s show. For past episodes, go here.