As most readers likely are already aware, tomorrow (Saturday, September 19, 2015) Alaska Common Ground and the University of Alaska – Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research (“ISER”) are sponsoring a day long forum on Alaska’s fiscal and economic future. A description of the forum and detailed agenda is available here.
The forum is from 9am – 4pm, at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium located on UAA’s campus. For those unable to attend in person, the forum will also be televised live on 360 North, the same public television system that televises Gavel-to-Gavel.
Based on the agenda and discussions with both those who have brought it together and various speakers, I anticipiate it will be a significant event in shaping the course of the coming debate on Alaska’s fiscal future.
One part of the forum will involve presentations by four Alaskans, each of whom will discuss and defend their own budget proposals, with audience members voting after the presentations on which they favor. Those presenting are John Havelock, former Alaska attorney general; Liz Medicine Crow, president/CEO, First Alaskans Institute; Gary Wilken, former Alaska state senator … and me.
Those interrogating the panelists about their proposals (I am confident in a good sense of the word — hahahaha) are Cliff Groh, Chair of Alaska Common Ground; Gunnar Knapp, ISER director and professor of economics; David Teal, director, Alaska Legislative Finance Division; and Larry Persily, former federal coordinator of the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Project, and former deputy commissioner, Alaska Department of Revenue.
Somewhere along the way I can guarantee I will mumble to myself (because I always do), “why did I agree to do this?” … and somewhere later along the way I will realize the answer.
Each of the “citizen panelists” has been asked to provide materials explaining and supporting the position. These will both be handed out to those attending in person and available online for those tuning in via web or television. For any that want to have a flavor for what is likely to be discussed — or get a jump in formulating questions, my set follows.
We will see how this goes ………