Presented 11/14/17. Each year, CWN presents a panel of experts to report on the value, income, and prospects of the State of Alaska’s key natural resources, financial assets, and state-owned corporations.
This report is an update of CWN’s 2015 report, "The State's Operating Budget: Critical Crossroads, Choices, and Opportunities". It contains specific recommendations for reducing state spending and is the result of the work of CWN’s Fiscal Policy Study Group.
With Commonwealth North's long commitment to a sound state fiscal policy and the state faced with a daunting gap between revenue and spending, CWN's Fiscal Policy Study Group was charged with an examination of the State's operating budget to identify recommendations to help reduce state spending.
For over twenty years, Commonwealth North has been leading an effort to study, highlight, and identify challenges and opportunities in Alaska's fiscal environment. The consistent determination, from a diverse cross section of study participants over the years, is that a sustainable long-range fiscal policy is necessary for Alaska to maintain its strong financial position for generations to come. In this Fiscal Policy Report, Commonwealth North summarizes the base line historical perspective, offers new perspective and provides three key findings to help create a foundation for establishment of a sustainable fiscal policy for the State of Alaska.
This 2012 report clarifies the current state of production, fuel transportation, and consumption of energy in rural Alaska and offers long-term, viable, cost-effective solutions to those challenges.
Transportation and energy infrastructure development in Alaska is at a crossroads. The vitality of the economy and the well-being of Alaskans are at stake. Decisive action must be taken now to develop integrated systems. A comprehensive plan is needed. This requires a vision greater than a single road, port, or pipeline. It requires a comprehensive plan that looks at opportunities, resources and geography concurrently and applies an integrated approach in planning.
The Board of Directors and members engaged in a seventeen week targeted study that evaluated the primary public policy concerns associated with Alaska's oil tax structure. It was determined that the current oil production tax adversely affects investment in oil production on the North Slope and progressivity should be modified.
Commonwealth North commissioned this study to evaluate solutions and facilitate dialogue relevant to energy policy throughout Alaska and develop guidelines and recommendations for a secure energy future. Alaska is rich in natural energy sources and yet many Alaskans struggle to meet rising energy costs. Alaska needs a long range, diversified energy plan. A statewide plan would allow for the infrastructure development Alaska needs to move forward beyond the economic drag associated with continued volatility of world, national and local fuel prices, and offer stable opportunities for citizens and business to invest in the future.
The report, based on a nine-month study, contains suggestions on management and governance of the Fund. It reviews and critiques past efforts to achieve a statewide consensus for use of non-dividend Fund income. It recommends a statewide dialogue on the fiscal future of the state, since this future must be agreed upon by the Administration, Legislature, and Public.
The Governor, his staff and consultants have worked over two years to negotiate a contract with the major gas producers to bring the North Slope gas to market. Agreements included in the proposed contract raise several major public policy issues for the State of Alaska. This study reviews this proposed contract. It does not purport to examine all provisions of the contract or all points of view about the contract. It does attempt to identify several very important provisions of the contract and to present contrasting points of view about those selected provisions.
This report is the result of a 9-monthlong study of the primary health care system of Alaska. It details current issues surrounding the cost, access and quality of primary health care in Alaska and makes many suggestions for improvement. It was chaired by Board members Marvin Swink and Dr. Tom Nighswander.
This report is a blueprint for the future of Commonwealth North. It was chaired by Board members James Linxwiler and Jan Fredericks. It also enjoyed the active participation of 16 CWN members. As the name implies, the purpose of the report is to ensure that your organization remains an active, vital contributor to research and education on crucial Alaska public policy issues, and assist in their resolution.
This study followed up on a 1998 study on how well Alaska was managing its land and resource wealth. It addressed four questions: (a) Can Alaska's return on assets be enhanced?; (b) To what extent can more effective management of Alaska's assets contribute to a sustainable revenue stream and fiscal plan?; (c) Can managing Alaska's business assets as a coordinated portfolio further enhance returns? and (d) How is this to be accomplished?
At the request of Governor Murkowski, through Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development Greg O'Claray, Commonwealth North produced a workforce development study, co-chaired by Dr. Alice Galvin and Jeff Staser.
Identifies, analyzes and makes statewide policy-level recommendations about the University of Alaska in the form of general principles--not specific campus or departmental management directives. Key UA role is improvement of quality of life for Alaskans by offering educational opportunities for self-fulfillment. Learning is primary purpose of UA, supported by research and engaged service. State needs to maintain funding while other income sources are developed. Each major campus needs "centers of excellence" with research and Ph.D. degrees. Board of Regents responsible for strategic planning.
Objectively analyzes reasons for and against convening a Constitutional Convention. Presents facts about the ballot issue. Presents results of statewide surveys of government officials and organizations as to any constitutional changes they would recommend. This issue was on the November 5, 2002, ballot as currently required every ten years by the Alaska Constitution.
Richard Barnes and Lee Gorsuch co-chaired a study group formed to identify issues associated with Alaska's interests in North Slope gas commercialization. The study group focused on significant public policy issues within the power of the State of Alaska to address. The Group avoided making specific ﾓhow toﾔ recommendations.
The Subsistence Committee grew out of the Urban Rural Unity Study. The committee concluded that the issues are very complex and not subject to a simple solution and it did not formulate any single solution. Instead, it offered several suggestions.
Addresses the question: How can Alaska effectively address the increasing tension between its urban and rural populations?
Recommends uses of Permanent Fund earnings in the context of total state fiscal needs.
Alaska's assets were examined to identify the management principles which, if consistently applied, would improve their financial return and enhance Alaska's economic stability.
This report recognizes that the greatest strength of our state, and our community, lies within the citizens of Alaska and Anchorage. Any action that improves our quality of life as a community will improve our competitive edge in the global community.
This analysis examines Anchorage's role in the context of the Alaska economy as a whole. It identifies economic engines of Anchorage with potential global competitive edge potential and makes recommendations for the State of Alaska and Municipality of Anchorage.
A study group reports makes recommendations regarding what services state government should provide, and what services it should not, given the growth of the state's private sector and declining state revenue from Prudhoe Bay.
An analysis of the condition of Alaska's economy, quality of life, educational systems and government at a pivotal point in its history.
Define partnering techniques and show how such alliances have worked in the past. Propose partnering arrangements of cooperative decision making as a policy of structural process. The state should have partnering legislation and establish a partnering council and mediation panel.
Development of a long-term financial plan that will compensate for declining oil revenues. This plan would be developed by a citizen-based commission. Recommendations: cut spending, increase revenues, get a plan via the creation of an Alaska Finance Commission.
Discussion of the adequacy of the current health care system. Focus on the unique issues in Alaska and discuss Alaskan's needs on the individual and state levels.
Proceedings and conclusions of Commonwealth North's budget conference held October, 1993. Issues discussed included: fiscal gap, spending regulation, use of liquid reserves, taxation, Permanent Fund and economic development.
Originally studied in 1982, the issue of the necessity of a constitutional convention is revisited. The report concludes that there is little need to change the 1982 findings and that the subject merits serious study.
This report provides a comprehensive overview of the issues related to the changing Arctic for state and national policy-makers as well as the public. It is set up as an overview that frames the issues and outlines their intersection with US national and Alaskan interests. Understanding and managing a changing Arctic will require Americans to become accustomed to thinking of their country as an Arctic nation. By raising awareness in the public sphere about Arctic issues and stimulating discussion, Commonwealth North believes that it can prompt the state and the nation to take action to bring about a desirable future for the Arctic.
A study of the viability of a major maritime center at Fire Island. The study concluded that a maritime center will attract new facilities and services which will stimulate industrial growth.
Examination of the legal underpinnings of statehood and a discussion of the growth of federal powers in general. Areas of federal interference with Alaska's goals are identified. Success stories reveal ways in which many obstacles can be overcome.
Statement of the need for in-state investment in revenue-generating projects to diversify the economy.
With expansion of the Port of Anchorage limited by its geography and year-round traffic restricted by mid-winter ice, Fire Island is an ideal location for a maritime center in the North Pacific. This center will replace the dependency on Seattle-area support services.
Proposed development of the Alaska Railroad to provide a transportation system that will aid the economic stability of Alaska.
Proposal to move the central railway yard from Anchorage to Eagle River. This relocation will allow for a redesign of the port area and will add to the economic viability of the Eagle River area.
Meant to be considered in conjunction with the Alaska Development Board proposal, this study states that the earnings of the Fund should be used in two ways. First, in good times, the earnings should be placed back in the Fund. Second, in the event of a fiscal need, the earnings should be appropriated directly into municipal and state government expenses.
A special task force on the state budget was charged by Commonwealth North directors to review and make recommendations as to how to address the State of Alaska's immediate budget gap and to address issues concerning the general direction and philosophy of state spending.
Discussion of Alaska as an "owner state" in which the state owns a substantial amount of land and resources. As the owner, Alaska has an obligation to provide its residents with a sustainable economy. To do this, the state must use its land and capital to preserve and enhance the private enterprise system.
The issue of the State's purchase of the Alaska Railroad is the question this study answers. The study recommends that the State purchase the railroad and operate it like private business.
Shall There Be a Constitutional Convention?
Initial study of the feasibility of purchasing the railroad from the federal government and railroad line expansion.
A study of the proposed natural gas pipeline. Both the cross-Canada and all-American plans are discussed. This study re-examines the issues raised in the 11/81 natural gas study.
A second fund, like the Permanent Fund, should be created to provide stability to Alaska's economy. This fund would provide investment in an infrastructure designed to broaden Alaska's economic base.
An examination of the State's loan agencies. State loan programs need to be regulated and, where necessary, consolidated to insure that the State does not overwhelm private lending agencies.
An analysis of the best ways to invest Alaska's resource revenues for the long-term benefit of the state.
Intended as an interim statement on the issue, this report examines the difficulties in getting Alaska's natural gas to market.
An answer to dwindling domestic energy production and foreign oil dependency. Development of Alaska's ample natural resources would provide a solution to the energy gap of the 1980's.