Alaska’s Finances Aren’t as Bad as You Think

If you happen across some information about Alaska’s current financial situation, you probably get the impression that we are in dire straights. When oil prices crashed 77% in late 2014, the State’s oil revenues collapsed – leaving a gaping hole in the budget. By all accounts, we’ve been deficit spending ever since. But that is[…]

The Death of the Permanent Fund Dividend

Alaska is blessed with natural beauty and natural resources. In many ways, our State is the envy of governments around the world. People from outside spend thousands of dollars to enjoy what we see every day. Meanwhile, we pay no income or sales tax, plus receive a dividend check each year. Unfortunately, that last sentence[…]

Alaska by the Numbers – March 2020

March was a crazy month. It’s almost unbelievable how quickly the world changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some quick highlights about how Alaska’s finances and economy were impacted by the pandemic. The Stock Market Collapsed March began with the Dow at 26,703. By the end of the month, it was down[…]

The Economic Damage of the Pandemic

At this point, you’ve probably heard more about the COVID-19 than you can stand. I feel you. And I don’t want to pile on to the discussion about the disease itself. But, the measures to protect public health will have economic consequences. While doing a full analysis of that economic damage is more work than[…]

Alaska by the Numbers – February 2020

Welcome to this month’s round-up of what happened in Alaska’s finances. It was a tough month for oil and equities, mostly due to the panic around the novel coronavirus. That’s making our already difficult financial situation even more challenging. The Permanent Fund Gave Back Its Earnings The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation website reports total asset[…]

Alaska is Unique When it Comes to Oil Ownership and Taxes

Around the globe, there are two basic systems governing the ownership of oil. In the first, resources are owned and controlled by the government. In the second, personal property rights extend all the way down to the core. The difference between the treatment of subsurface mineral ownership has far reaching implications. And, Alaska finds itself[…]

Alaska By The Numbers – January 2020

Here is your monthly update on some of the things that impacted Alaska’s finances and economy. The Legislature Gaveled In on January 21st The primary responsibility of the legislature is to appropriate the money needed to run the state government. Unlike last year, the House Finance Committee got right to work. The subcommittees are currently[…]

Fixing Alaska’s Investment Earnings Paradox

I wrote a piece a few weeks back about how Alaska’s current investment earnings laws don’t work together. They create a paradox in which the budget deficit gets smaller if investment earnings get worse. In the extreme, we could balance the budget by losing $7 billion in the stock market. Because that makes absolutely no[…]