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’s Revenue Outlook

The Department of Revenue puts out a forecast of state revenues each December, which serves as a companion to the budget. The latest numbers are a few months old now, and an update should be released next month. However, the Spring update usually focuses more on adjusting the budget year than the long-term outlook. The[…]

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[…]

Inflation Proofing the Permanent Fund

There was a little bit of a sparring match during the PFD working group meeting last week. Senators Hughes and Stedman seemed to have different impressions about the Percent of Market Value (POMV) approach to managing the Permanent Fund. But, the fireworks came in the form of a misunderstanding about how inflation proofing works. Let’s[…]

Projecting Alaska’s Budget

The Alaska State Legislature will gavel in tomorrow at 1pm. It should be a busy session, but the primary responsibility of the elected officials is to pass a budget. The governor submitted a starting place for them to consider – $4.5 billion of UGF spending. The finance committees will get to work and ultimately pass[…]

Why is Alaska’s Population Declining?

The Department of Labor published Alaska’s annual population numbers in January. It shows a reduction of 3,048 people in FY19. That is the third annual loss in population in a row.    On a quarterly basis, the available U.S. Census data suggests we’ve been losing population for 12 consecutive quarters (beginning in October 2016). And[…]