Monthly Archives: September 2012

What is Alaska’s “Fiscal Plan” …

Last week I heard one person ask another what their definition is of a “fiscal plan.” As more people begin to realize the state’s fiscal situation, I anticipate we will hear the term more.

One entity defines a “fiscal plan” as “[a]n outline of the government’s revenue and expense projections.” In Alaska, however, that definition is only partially complete. There are two other elements that I believe are important to a complete defintion here. One is is achieving a balance between revenues and expenses. The second is long term. Put together, a fiscal plan is “[a]n outline of the government’s long term revenue and expense projections, designed to achieve balance.Continue reading

Long term perspective …

Please join me at a fundraiser for Representative Charisse Millet next Tuesday (September 18) from 5:30 – 7:30p at LaMex Dimond (8330 King St.)

I am realizing something this election cycle.  Its not a universal truth, but is more common that not.

Candidates that have grandchildren or another long term stake in this state are focusing much more than others on long term issues.  For example, concerns about the “fiscal burden” that current spending levels are creating for future generations (as UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research puts it in a recent paperplay prominently in the campaign materials of those with a long term stake. Continue reading

“To hell with politics. Do what is best for Alaska.” (with 9.12.2012 addendum)

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There is a clear and important choice this year in State House District 23.  

On one side is the incumbent, who has very little to show for his years in the state legislature and who has voted for — and indeed, taken pride in — two of the largest budgets in Alaska history, both of which according to the University of Alaska’s Institute for Social and Economic Research (“ISER”) have materially increased the financial burdens on future Alaska generations.

On the other side is a fiscally conservative Democrat with 24 years in public finance and budget analysis who, not only in private conversations but proudly on her campaign website, makes clear that she is running to return Alaska to sustainable budgets. Continue reading

The Next in the Alaska Business Monthly series: “Oil Reform Requires Fiscal Reform” (from the September 2012 Alaska Business Monthly)

Alaska Business Monthly (Sept 2012)As noted on these pages previously, recently I agreed to write a bi-monthly column on oil & gas issues for the Alaska Business Monthly.  This is the second column, originally published in the September 2012 print edition and available online here.  

Most Alaskans are familiar with efforts by Governor Parnell the last two years to reform Alaska’s current oil tax structure. The most recent effort ended earlier this year, when the Governor withdrew the revised oil tax reform bill that he had submitted at the beginning of the special legislative session.

What many are not aware of is something that happened at the end of the special session, immediately before the Governor withdrew the bill.

The Office of Management and Budget is the state agency responsible for preparing and administering the state budget. In an appearance before the House Resources Committee, the head of OMB, Karen Rehfeld, testified that if the Governor’s tax reform bill passed, the reduction in revenues could cause the state budget, which otherwise was projected by OMB to run a surplus for several more years, to turn to a deficit virtually immediately. Continue reading