This week (March 28, 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 (1) taxes (PFD cuts), taxes (income taxes), and taxes (oil taxes), but where are the budget cuts, (2) what role having the #AKleg in Juneau is playing in this, and (3) too briefly (this week, but more to come next), why some #AKleg are really irritating. The clip starts at my segment.

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

#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.

This week (March 21, 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 what the #AKleg end game is starting to look like, what is going on with oil taxes and why I am running radio ads on the proposed #PFDcut. The clip starts at my segment.

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

This week on the radio …

radio05As regular readers know 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 SB 26, the Senate’s proposal to permanently cut the PFD in half, oil producer Repsol’s announcement last Friday that they believe they have discovered the biggest US onshore oil field in the last 30 years right here in Alaska, and what the latter topic means for the former. The clip below starts at my segment.

Toward the end of that segment House Minority Leader Charisse Millett called in to discuss the problems the Minority is facing in pursuing additional budget cuts (in order to avoid or limit the amount of “new revenue” required to be raised through PFD cuts and/or taxes).  Her conversation continued with Michael into the next segment, which is available here.

And then today (Friday) I joined KFQD’s The Mark Colavecchio Show to discuss why the Senate passed SB 26, what it means to the Alaska economy and the gradual meltdown going on in the House.  Again, the clip starts at my segment.

The segments from the two shows are below. For past episodes of my discussions with Michael Dukes and a previous one also with Mark Colavecchio, go here.

This week (March 7, 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 House budget, fiscal and oil tax bills, the various fiscal bills pending before Senate Finance and whether the Alaska Senate Majority is living up to its claim to be “fiscally conservative.” The clip starts at my segment.

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

Our comments on the proposed House Operating Budget (HB 57) …

CommentsOver the weekend we prepared and submitted our comments to the House Finance Committee on the proposed House Operating Budget (HB 57).  Here was the summary:

Alaska is currently in an economic recession. We believe consideration of that fact should drive the evaluation this session of every bill touching on the state’s economy. Things that adversely affect the state’s overall economic situation — or unfairly treat some Alaskans economically compared with others — should either be amended to avoid those effects or rejected.

HB 57 certainly is one of those bills that touch on the state’s economy.

For the reasons explained below, we believe that, in its current form, HB 57 both worsens Alaska’s overall economic situation and unfairly treats some Alaskans. In other words, we believe that HB 57 worsens the recession for both Alaska and Alaskans.

In order to avoid those effects, we believe that HB 57 should be amended in certain respects.

Our full comments are here:

An hour on the #AKbudget with Michael Dukes (a special, “Fiscal Friday” edition) …

As regular readers know, 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, however, I also joined Michael a second time on a special, “Fiscal Friday” edition of the show.  Michael and I spent the hour working through the various budget proposals currently pending in the House and Senate, their effect on the overall Alaska economy and which legislators are living up to their self-styled claim to be fiscal conservatives and which aren’t (for example, did you know that in an on the record roll call vote Thursday in the Senate State Affairs Committee Senators Cathy Giessel and John Coghill voted with Democrat Senator Dennis Egan and over the objection of Senators Mike Dunleavy and David Wilson to advance the Governor’s PFD-cutting fiscal plan).

The clip starts at my segment. Listen here or at the widget below for the discussion. For past episodes of my discussions with Michael Dukes, go here.

 

This week (Feb 28, 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 a commentary by long-time Alaska economist Gregg Erickson on the issue the legislature is missing in the current budget debate (“Focus on Alaska budget misses the point,” goo.gl/El859M), and why the Senate’s latest proposed solution (SB 70) not only misses that same issue but doesn’t even do what its sponsors claim it does. The clip starts at my segment.

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

Comparing the impact of SB 70 v. HB 115 on the overall Alaska economy …

comparison-of-sb-70-v-hb-115-2-27-2017
Last Friday, the Alaska Senate Majority introduced SB 70, a new bill which proposes to address Alaska’s fiscal situation. Like HB 115, the version being considered in the House, the Senate version relies heavily on cutting the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) in order to raise “new revenue.” Unlike the House version, the Senate version does not also contain an income tax component.

Because no one else is, we have started scoring the effect of various fiscal proposals on the overall state economy. As we explained in a previous piece last week scoring HB 115 (“Scoring the effect of HB 115 on the overall Alaska economy”, Feb. 20, 2017), we are doing so using the factors developed last year in two studies done by economists at the University of Alaska-Anchorage’s Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER).

Our basic methodology is described in the February 20th piece. It measures the effect on the overall Alaska economy of the proposal being scored in four areas: jobs, income, poverty levels and income disparity. Especially given that Alaska is in the midst of a recession, the purpose of the scoring is to determine whether the proposal moves the overall economy forward or backward. Continue reading

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.

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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.