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The alaska state budget (mat su business alliance 3.21.2014)


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An analysis of where we are on the Alaska state budget, where we are headed and what that means.

Published in: News & Politics
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The alaska state budget (mat su business alliance 3.21.2014)

  1. 1. The three W‘s: BRAD KEITHLEY PRESIDENT, KEITHLEY CONSULTING, LLC ANCHORAGE, ALASKA BGKEITHLEY.COM MATSU BUSINESS ALLIANCE MARCH 21, 2014 The Alaska State Budget Where we are Where we are headed What that means
  2. 2. Alaska’s current situation … “Right now, the state is on a path it can’t sustain. Growing spending and falling revenues are creating a widening fiscal gap. … Reasonable assumptions about potential new revenue sources suggest we do not have enough cash in reserves to avoid a severe fiscal crunch soon after 2023, and with that fiscal crisis will come an economic crash.” ISER Web Note 14 (2013) 2
  3. 3. Leg Finance’s summary … “The implications of the figures are severe: 1. Simply constraining expenditure growth is insufficient … 2. Failure to reduce the projected deficits will result in a very hard landing … 3. Revival of the standard fiscal policy options [broad based taxes, etc] may not eliminate deficits …” -- The Fiscal Year 2015 Budget: Legislative Fiscal Analysts Overview of the Governor’s Budget, Legislative Finance Division 3
  4. 4. And things can become even worse … 4
  5. 5. What lies ahead … “Two options available to the state, in addition to reducing expenditures, are institution of a broad-based tax, and use of a portion of the earnings of the Permanent Fund. … It is anticipated that both options will be required in the non-OCS case. The value shown above assumes a personal income tax, similar to the tax that was eliminated in 1980, will be phased in between 2022 and 2026.” Northern Economics and ISER, Potential National-Level Benefits of Alaska OCS Development (Feb. 2011) 5
  6. 6. What are the big drivers … Legislative Finance estimates that, at current growth rates, by 2024 ninety-nine percent (99%) of total available revenues will be spent in three areas:  K-12 education  Medicaid  Retirement Assistance 6
  7. 7. There is an alternative … “What can the state do to avoid a major fiscal and economic crisis? The answer is to save more and restrict the rate of spending growth. All revenues above the sustainable spending level … including Permanent Fund income, except the share that funds the dividend – would be channeled into savings.” ISER Web Note 14 (2013) Over time, earnings from the amounts saved are used to supplement other sources to maintain a sustainable level of overall revenues. 7 Turns a non-renewable resource (oil) into a renewable resource (financial assets)
  8. 8. Approach is consistent with Constitutional policy … Alaska Constitution, Art 8, Sec 4: “Fish, forests, wildlife, grasslands and all other replenishable resources belonging to the State shall be utilized, developed, and maintained on the sustained yield principle, subject to preferences among beneficial uses.” 8 The state’s financial resources similarly can sustain the state over the long term if not “fished out” by the current generation.
  9. 9. What type of spending reductions … Calculation Year General Fund Fiscal Burden Source MSY Actual Spend FY2012 $6.2 $7.0 $.8 Feb 2011, WebNote 7 & May 2011, WebNote 8 March 2012, WebNote 10 FY2013 $6.4 $7.6 $1.2 August 2012, WebNote 13 FY2014 $5.5 $7.1 $1.6 Jan. 2013, WebNote 14 FY2015 $5.0 $5.6+ $.6+ Total $23.1 $27.3+ $4.2+ 9
  10. 10. How to implement …  What is important is the overall spending level (requires “top down” look)  Are we saving enough to build a sufficient nest egg to maintain consistent spending in future years  Allocation within the overall spending level can be handled several ways  Sequester (all spending reduced pro rata to fit within the overall level)  Priorities established between and within categories  But formulas and other spending trends need to fit within overall spending levels  No programs are sustainable if one breaks the overall budget 10
  11. 11. Everything needs a look …  Education (K-12) spending as an example  Overall state GF spending has risen from $922 million to $1.92 billion (108%) in 10 years  Not sustainable at that level (already nearly 40% of current revenues)  Goal is to find and maintain a sustainable level to provide consistency 11
  12. 12. Recommendations for this legislative session …  Cap UGF (operating and capital) spending this year at overall sustainable levels  Should be on the downside of the $5.75 billion four year average  Enact HB 136 to provide information to the legislature and public each year on the overall sustainable budget level  Enable legislature and public to understand the long term implications of budgets  Closely examine and modify, if necessary, programs to ensure they are consistent with an overall sustainable budget  Requires prioritization overall and within each program  Also requires all revenue sources be tapped (e.g., UA system) 12
  13. 13. How are we doing so far …  Goal: No more than $5.75 billion total spending, capital and operating budget combined  Operating budget recommendations:  House: $5.075 billion  Senate: $5.069 billion  But, neither include an amount for PERS/TRS, which depending on the outcome of the Governor’s proposal to transfer $3 billion from the CBR is somewhere between an additional $500 million (Governor’s proposal) and $975 million (ARM Board proposal absent infusion)  And, no capital budget recommendations yet (Governor’s proposal is $430 million, plus “legislative priorities”)  Trend: Lower spending levels than before, BUT NOT NEARLY ENOUGH TO BE SUSTAINABLE 13
  14. 14. So, what does that mean …  State is in for rough – potentially very rough – seas ahead  If oil goes to $90, things become seriously difficult  Continuing to spend the next generation’s money  At a lower rate than the last three years, but nevertheless continuing to do so at an alarming rate  Continuing on the path outlined by ISER  “Fiscal crisis … economic crash”  “ … institution of a broad-based tax, and use of a portion of the earnings of the Permanent Fund”  If Alaskans want a different course, they need to tell Juneau that they will accept serious cuts 14