Monthly Archives: April 2014

#AKbudget| Unfortunately, deficits matter … (addendum dated 4.25.2014)

FiscalCliffAs readers of this blog’s “Page Two” will know, during the last few days of the session — and on into overtime — I have been building and populating some Excel spread sheets to put the budget being worked on this session (for FY 2015) and the one previous — in other words, the two budgets passed by this (the 28th) Legislature) — in a historical context.

Although this session is not quite finished — as of this writing the conference committee required to finalize the FY 2015 capital budget has not yet met — at this point the differences appear to be in a small enough range so as not to materially affect the overall outcome.

While the posts on Page Two have examined the data in additional ways, for many readers the most interesting questions appear to arise when the data is broken down by Governor.  As a result, in addition to presenting the data by year, in the far righthand columns the following table also summarizes and averages the data over the term of each Governor. Continue reading

#AKbudget| Governor Parnell’s budget shell game …


A column from Alaska Politics & Elections (for background on APE, see #AKpolitics| New Alaska Focused Website Launches …)

In the past few days Governor Parnell has been making the rounds of various talk shows, touting his accomplishments in anticipation of the end of the current legislative session and the coming election.

One of those claimed accomplishments relate to the budget, but in order to claim success in that area he is engaging in a shell game, hiding a big part of state spending under another cup in order to make his budget numbers look better.  Its not honest and is something which should significantly trouble those concerned about Alaska’s current budget — and Alaska’s fiscal future. Continue reading

#AKbudget| Round 3 of “The FY 2015 end game (and its not looking good …)

ThelmaLouise4_001PyxurzEarly last week I wrote a column, after the Senate surfaced its proposed FY 2015 Capital Budget, entitled “#AKbudget| The FY 2015 end game (and its not looking good) ….”  The column was not intended to start off a series but after some in Juneau attempted to defend the indefensibly high budget that the legislature is preparing to pass again this year as “fiscally conservative,” I responded with a second piece later in the week (“#AKbudget| A postscript to ‘The FY 2015 end game …“). Continue reading

#AKbudget| A postscript to “The FY 2015 end game (and its not looking good) …”

FiscalCliffI have been told that some in Juneau think the column I wrote earlier this week on the current budget end game (“#AKbudget| The FY 2015 end game (and its not looking good) …“) is unfair because it does not properly recognize the cuts which have been made in spending over the last two years since the current so-called “fiscally conservative” Senate Majority took office (and, according to claims made at the time, finally positioned the Senate to work with an equally minded House and Governor to produce “fiscally conservative” results). Continue reading

#AKbudget| The FY 2015 end game (and its not looking good) …

Fiscal CliffAs this year’s regular legislative session enters its last few days, the outlines of the final FY 2015 budget are becoming clearer, and its not good for those concerned about Alaska’s future.

To bring readers current, the Governor started the bidding in December with an initial proposed budget advertised as $5.6 billion (in unrestricted general fund spending). That number, however, did not include a contribution toward the state’s retirement obligation (PERS/TRS), which exceeded $.6 billion in FY 2014 and previously was scheduled to be significantly higher for FY 2015, and also didn’t include money to cover so-called “legislative priorities,” the euphemistic phrase used to refer to legislative earmarks inserted annually by legislators in the capital budget for hometown projects.

Subsequently, last month in successive weeks the House, and then the Senate, announced their versions of the Operating Budget. The House included $5.075 billion in spending in its version, and the Senate $5.25 billion in its. Both versions, however, failed to address the PERS/TRS issue and, until today, both also lacked a corresponding capital budget. Continue reading