Monthly Archives: December 2016

Reps. Tammie Wilson & Lynn Gattis on lessons learned and looking forward …

gattis-wilsonYesterday (Friday) Reps. Tammie Wilson and Lynn Gattis joined me during my stint as guest host on KBYR AM700‘s The Michael Dukes Show to reflect on the lessons learned from 2016 and talk about the issues going forward into 2017.

Both were members of the House Majority and sat on the House Finance Committee this past session.  Rep. Wilson will be a member of the House Minority and continue to sit on the House Finance Committee this coming session.  Rep. Gattis is not returning but intends to remain active on the issues.

The conversation provides a somewhat behind the scenes view of the how individual legislators responded to the state’s fiscal issues last legislature, how the legislative process dealt with those efforts and what effect that had on the subsequent election. Importantly, the conversation also addresses the assertion, by some, that “the legislature didn’t do anything” to address the state’s fiscal situation last session.

Going forward, the two discuss how the issues likely are to be dealt with this coming legislature and how, from their perspective, Alaskans can best participate in the process.

The podcast is here:

Senator Mike Dunleavy’s Fiscal Plan …

dunleavy-banner10Wednesday, during my run as guest host of KBYR AM700‘s The Michael Dukes ShowAlaska State Senator Mike Dunleavy joined us to preview the fiscal plan he proposes to introduce this coming session in his capacity as incoming Chair of the Senate State Affairs Committee and a continuing member of the Senate Finance Committee.

Despite a bit of self-induced technical difficulty on my end (we crashed into the top-of-the-hour hard break, a talk radio no-no), the Senator stayed with us to finish providing a full preview of the plan and give us the opportunity to ask a few questions.  With a bit of editing — to limit inflicting on listeners a full repeat of the technical difficulties — here is the podcast of the discussion in two parts.  The first is the opening in the 7am hour; the second is the continuation and wrap up in the 8am hour.

Part 1 (7am block segment)


Part 2 (8am block segment)


Alaska Republican Party Vice Chairman Rick Whitbeck on the PFD …

arpThursday of this week Alaska Republican Party (ARP) Vice Chair Rick Whitbeck joined me for an “Alaska GOP Update” while I sat in as guest host of KBYRAM 700‘s The Michael Dukes Show.

Political commentator Casey Reynolds already has hi-lited one part of my discussion with Rick in this week’s edition of Reynolds’ regular “Friday in the Sun” column in his The Midnight Sun blog.

Who Isn’t On The List? — Alaska Republican Party Vice-Chairman Rick Whitbeck said yesterday on the Michael Dukes Show that he has a list of 46 Republicans who “are either interested in running or people are trying to draft them into running” for Governor in 2018.

That is a pretty good indication of just how vulnerable Republicans think Gov. Bill Walker is at this point.

Whitbeck went on to say the Alaska Republican Party’s challenge is to keep the number of entrants in the Republican primary from ballooning to the point the Party’s message gets lost. That is pretty clearly code for saying the Party doesn’t want more than 3-4 people in the primary because that would give more moderate or labor-supported candidates like Sen. Click Bishop or a candidate with a track record of opposing resource development like richy-rich Bob Gillam a realistic chance of winning.

Of far greater interest to us, however, were Whitbeck’s comments on the PFD.  After Rick argued that cutting the PFD is an economic mistake, I asked him to reconcile that view at the Party level with the boots on the ground action by the Republican-led Senate last session in passing SB 128, a bill which would have permanently cut the PFD immediately in half, and more as time went on.

To his credit, rather than dodging the issue Rick addressed it head on, wrapping up by saying “I hope there is a different approach this [coming] year.”

The following is the full podcast of our discussion with Rick; for those interested in the discussion on the PFD, you can fast forward to the part of the discussion beginning around 8:55.

Two entirely different perspectives on the Permanent Fund earnings stream …

FB Ad Pic (with text)This week I am guest hosting The Michael Dukes Show.  Yesterday (Tuesday) I invited Casey Reynolds to join me on the show during the 7am block to discuss his The Midnight Sun blog (& podcast), the coming legislative session and anything else that came up along the way.

In the final segment of that hour we finally turned to the legislative session and, as part of that, the fiscal issues facing the state.  Quickly, we fell into a discussion about the use of the Permanent Fund earnings stream, particularly that portion used to fund the Permanent Fund dividend, which then led to a discussion as much about “who owns” the stream than anything else.  Because we were in the middle of that discussion as we approached the top-of-the-hour break we continued it over also to the first segment of the 8am hour of the show.

What I didn’t realize at the time but subsequently learned from a listener was that Casey also had talked about the issue — and my position — the preceding weekend on The Midnight Sun podcast.  Because his comments during the podcast are a good introduction also to the position he took during our discussion I have included both clips with this post.

For those of you that want a quick orientation before listening to the clips, here is what Casey said on his podcast during a discussion with his co-host, Forrest Dunbar about the

Continue reading

Michael Dukes’ interview of OMB Director Pat Pitney & Chief of Staff Scott Kendall (Dec 22, 2016)

Yesterday Walker Administration OMB Director Pat Pitney and Chief of Staff Scott Kendall joined Michael Dukes on his, The Michael Dukes Show (6-9am each weekday morning on KBYR AM700), to discuss the Administration’s proposed FY 2018 budget.

The full interview — which starts at 35:30 of the above clip — is well worth the listen (it’s about 14 minutes), but if you only have time for one bit I would recommend going to 41:45 and picking up there.

Here is the question that starts that segment:  “The economy is in a recession.  … When you guys put together the budget … did you analyze … the impact on the Alaska economy … of what the budget proposals would do to the recession?”

The answer?  To paraphrase, we looked at the ISER studies and knew the proposals would hurt the overall economy.  Then why did you do it?  Because business [my interjection, GCI] wants “certainty.”

My comment:  Uhhhh, Pat, you still could have “certainty” by adopting the original sustainable budget model, cutting spending to somewhat lower spending levels and preserving the PFD (and with it, the Alaska economy).  So, what’s really going on is the “businesses” you are talking to want more than just “certainty;” they want the “certainty” of higher sustained state spending levels.

And you agreed to propose it, knowing that it comes at the expense of the economic health of both the overall Alaska economy and average Alaskans.  Just … wow.  

This week (Dec 20, 2016) 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 take a deep dive into the Governor’s proposed FY 2018 budget. My summary? Governor Walker is ignoring the fact that he is the Governor for all Alaskans, not just those tied to the Government economy. Here’s why and, at the end, how I would do it differently. I join Michael at 15:00 into the segment.

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

This week (Dec 13, 2016) 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 what to look for in Governor’s proposed FY 2018 budget due to be released by Thursday, and take a first look at how the Trump Cabinet picks are likely impact Alaska.  I join Michael at 23:10 into the segment. (Note: At the time of the broadcast Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington was rumored to be the likely pick for Secretary of the Interior. Later in the day, however, the transition announced Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana as the pick. While there are some differences in the positions the two have taken over the years, none of them relate to the development of Alaska’s resources. Thus, the expectations I outlined under Rep. Rodgers remain the same under Rep. Zinke.)

Listen here or at the widget below and for past episodes, go here.

Implementing Governor Hammond’s “50/50” Plan for the use of Permanent Fund earnings …

Earlier this fall we wrote a piece discussing Governor Hammond’s original plan for building the Permanent Fund and thereafter using the earnings derived from the fund. “Fully implementing Governor Hammond’s 50/50 plan (or, how to find another $1.5 billion in annual revenue without PFD cuts and taxes)…”,

As reflected in his final book, Diapering the Devil ( at 15, 19), Governor Hammond’s vision was simple:

“I wanted to transform oil wells pumping oil for a finite period into money wells pumping money for infinity. …[Once the “money wells” were pumping] each year one-half of the account’s earnings would be dispersed among Alaska residents …. The other half of the earnings could be used for essential government services.”

.As we noted in that piece, while the first and second steps have long since been implemented in the form of the Permanent Fund (the “money wells”) and PFD (“one-half of the account’s earnings would be dispersed among Alaska citizens”), the third and final step — the “other half of the earnings could be used for essential government services” — never has.

Our earlier piece discussed how to — and the importance of — implementing that final step.

Yesterday, we turned the piece into slide deck form and discussed it with the Fairbanks Chapter of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance.  A copy of the slide deck is above, or can be viewed and downloaded here:

We at Alaskans for Sustainable Budgets will be talking about this more — lots more — in the coming weeks and months.

This week (Dec 6, 2016) 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 renewed battle over oil taxes coming to the #AKLeg this session and why there are no more excuses preventing the implementation of Governor Hammond’s 50/50 Fiscal Plan and preserving the PFD, as is.  I join Michael at 14:15 into the segment.

Listen here or at the widget below and for past episodes, go here.

Alaskans for Sustainable Budgets Founder Brad Keithley to discuss “Hammond 50/50 Plan”

FB Ad Pic (with text)Alaskans for Sustainable Budgets Founder Brad Keithley will be publicly discussing the need for and implementation of Governor Hammond’s original 50/50 plan for the use of earnings from the Permanent Fund two times over the next two weeks.

The first will be tomorrow (Wednesday, December 7) at the monthly luncheon of the Fairbanks Chapter of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance,   The second will be as part of a panel discussion next Monday (December 12) afternoon during Law Seminars International Annual Two-Day Conference on Alaska Energy Markets and Regulation,

In Diapering the Devil, Governor Hammond described his vision for the use of Permanent Fund earnings this way: Continue reading