How Alaska Does Money
Yoni Blumberg

Sigh. Not quite. The AK Senate adjourned the 5th special session on 7/18 (after just a handful of hearings and without votes on any of the deficit-reduction bills that Walker proposed.) The House had adjourned 7/15. So, the Governor (or the Legislature depending on how you look at it) failed to broker a deal. Again.

While the price of oil is the reason that our deficit is 4 Billion+ with a B, it has more to do, imo, with the Legislature basing our budgets off the highest price of oil (around $120!!!) instead of, you know, and average or a number closer to what those in the oil industry were using. If our budget was based on $80 or even $100/barrel oil, things would not be nearly as bad.

Also, the Governor *did* make changes to how the PFD is distributed in June— he capped PFD @ $1,000/person. Not the over $2,000/person we were all expecting. Something that I don’t believe many Alaskans realize will affect them this year. The Legislature did not veto this in July, so it stands. Note: the $1,000+/person that the Governor kept is NOT going towards our budget deficit. Is your head spinning yet? Because, long story short, our Governor also wants money to build a State run gas line. And at $55 Billion with a B, the PF is a really big pot of money.

The reason WHY many residents are hesitant to use the permanent fund earnings for funding the government is b/c many people don’t believe enough cuts have been made yet. So, why would we give the Government a cash source (the people’s cash source) when times are tough (the oil days are over, forever…) without first adjusting the size of government according to the new reality/lean times. For example, Alaska spends the highest amount of $ in the nation per kid on education, and we have the WORST results. #1 spender, #50 results. We probably need to examine that a bit more. And don’t even get me started on the Alaska Marine Highway… TLDR: next time, ask a local.