Fiscal Policy Study Group (Completed 2015)

Over recent years the state operating budget has increased 102% – from $2.2 billion in FY 2004 to $4.4 billion in 2014. In Commonwealth North’s study on the Long Term Economic Sustainability for the State of Alaska (January 2013) we noted that the current level of spending is unsustainable and it’s imperative that the state implement a long-term fiscal plan, which will require spending restraints.  Fiscal discussions have primarily focused on the revenue side of the state’s ledger and on capital project spending. Minimal public attention or discussion has been given to the recurring cost drivers of other state spending.

This Commonwealth North study aimed to:

  • Increase the understanding of cost drivers of the operating budget over the last ten years and the forecasted impact over the next ten years.
  • Understand the impact and nature of formula-driven programs and the latitude for change.
  • Identify the effectiveness of state programs through a review of its performance measure framework in terms of results delivered and resources required.

One of the most valued aspects of Commonwealth North membership is participation in our study groups. Even if you are not a fiscal policy wonk, you should join us. As we increase our understanding of Alaska’s operating budget, we’ll also be striving to make state finances an approachable subject to Alaskans.

The study group is co-chaired by CWN President Eric Wohlforth, and CWN Board Member, Cheryl Frasca.

Useful Links

Final Report (1 file)
Icon of 2015 The States Operating Budget 2015 The States Operating Budget (6.2 MB)
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.

2016 (8 files)
Icon of 03/03/16 Gunnar Knapp 03/03/16 Gunnar Knapp (1.5 MB)
On March 3rd, and March 17th, 2016, Gunnar Knapp, Director and Professor of Economics at ISER, presented his study of the potential economic affects of the new revenue proposals being considered in Juneau. (Updated 03/17/16)

Icon of 03/10/16 FAC Rep. Mike Hawker 03/10/16 FAC Rep. Mike Hawker (102.4 KB)
On March 10th, 2016, Representative Mike Hawker presented his legislation, HB224 to CWN's Fiscal Action Coalition.

Icon of 03/22/15 AK House Finance Subcommittee Working Group Presentation 03/22/15 AK House Finance Subcommittee Working Group Presentation (3.5 MB)
A Presentation to the Alaska House Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Policy Working Group 9/20/2010. Co-Chairs Representative Anna Fairclough & Eric Wohlforth.

Icon of 03/22/16 A New Fiscal Planning Process 03/22/16 A New Fiscal Planning Process (413.4 KB)
Eric Wohlforth presents in this paper a discussion of Alaska's past fiscal policy efforts.

Icon of 03/24/16 Alaska's Fiscal Future 03/24/16 Alaska's Fiscal Future (501.0 KB)
A Presentation from Eric Wohlforth for Fiscal Action Coalition 2-34-16. Presentation from 12/15/2015.

Icon of 04/07/2016 FAC Joe Beedle 04/07/2016 FAC Joe Beedle (658.0 KB)
On April 7th, 2016, Joe Beedle, Chairman of Northrim Bank, gave a presentation to CWN's Fiscal Action Coalition about the state's current fiscal challenges, the significant shift in the state's net fiscal position in recent years and its implications.

Icon of 04/14/16 FAC Rasmuson 04/14/16 FAC Rasmuson (2.1 MB)
On April 14th, 2016, Lisa Parker, Campaign Manager for the Rasmuson Foundations Plan4Alaska campaign, gave an update on the campaign, the feedback they are hearing from Alaskans, and their most recent polling data.

Icon of 05/17/16 Economic Impacts of Alaska Fiscal Options - Draft May 2016 05/17/16 Economic Impacts of Alaska Fiscal Options - Draft May 2016 (4.2 MB)
On May 17th, 2016, Gunnar Knapp discussed ISER's draft report on the potential economic impacts of the new revenue options being considered in Juneau.

2015 (18 files)
Icon of 05/08/15 Understanding Labor Contracts, 2015 05/08/15 Understanding Labor Contracts, 2015 (2.8 MB)
This document is a presentation given on May 8th, 2015 to the House Finance Committee by the Department of Administration.

Icon of 05/28/15 Fiscal Report Presentation to South Anchorage Rotary 05/28/15 Fiscal Report Presentation to South Anchorage Rotary (841.4 KB)
On May 28th, 2015, Cheryl Frasca gave a presentation to the South Anchorage Rotary Club about CWN's 2015 Fiscal Policy Study.

Icon of 08/25/15 DoR Production Tax Credits Detail FY 2007 to FY 2019 08/25/15 DoR Production Tax Credits Detail FY 2007 to FY 2019 (87.6 KB)
The Alaska Department of Revenue report, "Production Tax Credits Detail FY 2007 to FY 2019" was used for discussion on production tax credits in the Fiscal Action Coalition on 08/25/15.


Icon of 08/25/15 Path to a Sustainable Future ISER 2015 08/25/15 Path to a Sustainable Future ISER 2015 (68.9 KB)
The 2015 ISER report, "A Path to a Sustainable Future" was used for discussion on the state's revenue options in the Fiscal Action Coalition on 08/25/15.

Icon of 08/25/15 Potential Revenue Options Walker 2015 08/25/15 Potential Revenue Options Walker 2015 (469.5 KB)
The Governor's 2015 report, "Potential Fiscal and Revenue Options for the Walker-Mallott Administration" was used for discussion on the state's revenue options in the Fiscal Action Coalition on 08/25/15.

Icon of 08/25/15 The Effects of State Revenue Options on Alaska Households, ISER 2004 08/25/15 The Effects of State Revenue Options on Alaska Households, ISER 2004 (1.3 MB)
The 2004 ISER report, "The Effects of State Revenue Options on Alaska Households" was used for discussion on the state's revenue options in the Fiscal Action Coalition meeting on 08/25/15.


Icon of 09/24/15 FAC Permanent Fund Eric Wohlforth 09/24/15 FAC Permanent Fund Eric Wohlforth (561.4 KB)
On September 24th, 2015 Eric Wohlforth gave a presentation to the Fiscal Action Coalition about the Permanent Fund, and CWN's 2007 report, "At A Crossroad: The Permanent Fund, Alaskans and Alaska's Future".

Icon of 10/01/15 FAC Lesil McGuire SB114 10/01/15 FAC Lesil McGuire SB114 (872.3 KB)
On October 1st, 2015, Senator Lesil McGuire gave a presentation to the Fiscal Action Coalition about her legislation SB 114 now pending in the Legislature. Her bill would change how money is deposited into the Permanent Fund, and switch it to a POMV formula. The bill would enable the Legislature to utilize Permanent Fund earnings to help meet the fiscal gap and stabilize and protect future PFDs.

Icon of 10/15/15 FAC Dept of Revenue State Revenue Options 10/15/15 FAC Dept of Revenue State Revenue Options (469.5 KB)
On October 15th, 2015 Larry Persily briefed the Fiscal Action Coalition on the State's potential options for new revenue to close the fiscal gap. This document is a white paper produced by the AK Department of Revenue titled, "Potential Fiscal and Revenue Options for the Walker-Mallott Administration".

Icon of 11/02/15 Eric Wohlforth Memo regarding State's Sound Fiscal Future Report 11/02/15 Eric Wohlforth Memo regarding State's Sound Fiscal Future Report (151.3 KB)
This document is a memorandum from CWN Fiscal Study Co-Chair, Eric Wohlforth, to the Alaska Attorney General, Craig Richards, regarding the State's newly announced fiscal plan, "A Sound Fiscal Future (2015)".

Icon of 11/4/15 A Sound Fiscal Future Briefing PowerPoint by Graig Richards 11/4/15 A Sound Fiscal Future Briefing PowerPoint by Graig Richards (184.2 KB)
On October 28th, 2015 Alaska Attorney General, Graig Richards, announced in Juneau the Administration's new fiscal proposal which includes a plan to utilize some Permanent Fund earnings for state government.

Icon of 11/4/15 A Stable and Efficient Fiscal Framework for Saudi Arabia (2015) 11/4/15 A Stable and Efficient Fiscal Framework for Saudi Arabia (2015) (1.5 MB)
This report is the third of a three-part study by the Harvard Kennedy School analyzing the structures and practices of the worlds leading sovereign wealth funds. This report it provides a road map for transitioning from oil to investment revenue. The three reports are available at: http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/ publication/25300/institutions_and_policies_for_managing_sovereign_wealth.html

Icon of 12/10/15 FAC Gunnar Knapp 12/10/15 FAC Gunnar Knapp (817.2 KB)
On December 10th, 2015 Gunnar Knapp, Director and Professor of Economics at UAA's Institute of Social and Economic Research, presented several slides on the State of Alaska's current fiscal situation. The slides reflect the Department of Revenue's recent downward revision of the estimated 2016 petroleum revenue to the State.

Icon of 12/14/15 FAC Pat Pitney Handout 12/14/15 FAC Pat Pitney Handout (82.5 KB)
On December 14th, 2015, Pat Pitney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, briefed the Fiscal Action Coalition on the Governor's proposed FY 2017 budget.

Icon of 12/14/15 FAC Pat Pitney PowerPoint Presentation 12/14/15 FAC Pat Pitney PowerPoint Presentation (1.1 MB)
On December 14th, 2015, Pat Pitney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, briefed the Fiscal Action Coalition on the Governor's proposed FY 2017 budget.

Icon of 12/17/15 FAC Scott Goldsmith 12/17/15 FAC Scott Goldsmith (4.1 MB)
On December 17th, 2015, Dr. Scott Goldsmith, Professor Emeritus of Economics at ISER, gave a presentation to the Fiscal Action Coalition about sustainable state finances, "Unlocking our Petroleum Wealth Potential: A Game Plan for Meeting Alaska's Fiscal Challenge".

2014 (22 files)
Icon of 08/21/14 Fiscal Study Outline 08/21/14 Fiscal Study Outline (118.0 KB)
This document is an outline of the 2014 Fiscal Study.

Icon of 08/21/14 State of Alaska Fiscal Summary FY14-FY15 08/21/14 State of Alaska Fiscal Summary FY14-FY15 (64.6 KB)
This two page chart represents a fiscal summary of Alaska's State budget for FY14 -FY15.

Icon of 08/22/14 Alaska Legislative Budget Handbook 08/22/14 Alaska Legislative Budget Handbook (11.1 MB)
Provided by the Alaska Legislative Finance Division, The Alaska Legislative Budget Handbook is designed to provide legislators and aides with a step by-step budget primer.

Icon of 08/22/14 Tax Division Annual Report 08/22/14 Tax Division Annual Report (7.4 MB)
2013 Annual Report from the Alaska Department of Revenue, Tax Division.

Icon of 08/28/14 Boucher 08/28/14 Boucher (78.2 KB)
This is a document John Boucher presented to the Fiscal Study Group on August 28th. It reflects the FY'15 Enacted Fiscal Summary.

Icon of 08/28/14 John Boucher 08/28/14 John Boucher (545.9 KB)
On August 28th, John Boucher, Senior Economist, Alaska Office of Management and Budget, gave a presentation to the Fiscal Study Group.

Icon of 09/11/14 Drivers of Health Care Costs in Alaska and Comparison States (2011) 09/11/14 Drivers of Health Care Costs in Alaska and Comparison States (2011) (488.8 KB)
2011 Report by Milliman, Inc. on the Drivers of Health Care Costs in Alaska and Comparison States. The report was prepared for the Alaska Health Care Commission.

Icon of 09/11/14 Gunnar Knapp Presentation 09/11/14 Gunnar Knapp Presentation (819.7 KB)
On September 11, 2014, Professor Gunanr Knapp, Director of ISER, gave a presentation to the Fiscal Study Group about ISER's work to study historical trends in state finances and comparative analyses to other states.

Icon of 09/11/14 Hay Report 09/11/14 Hay Report (1.6 MB)
State of Alaska - State Managed Group Health Insurance Program for Alaska Public School Employees. HayGroup (2013).

Icon of 09/18/14 David Teal, Director Leg Finance, PowerPoint Slides 09/18/14 David Teal, Director Leg Finance, PowerPoint Slides (271.4 KB)
On September 18th, 2014 David Teal, Director of the State Legislature's Legislative Finance Division gave a presentation to CWN's Fiscal Policy Study Group.

Icon of 09/25/14 Part A - Subcommittee Revamp Slide 09/25/14 Part A - Subcommittee Revamp Slide (74.3 KB)
On September 25th, Rep. Alan Austerman and Finance Committee staff member, Pete Ecklund briefed the Fiscal Policy Study Group.

Icon of 09/25/14 Part B - FY14 Statewide Data and Graphs 09/25/14 Part B - FY14 Statewide Data and Graphs (47.1 KB)
On September 25th, Rep. Alan Austerman and Finance Committee staff member, Pete Ecklund briefed the Fiscal Policy Study Group.

Icon of 09/25/14 Part C HHS FY15 Gov Budget History Graphs 09/25/14 Part C HHS FY15 Gov Budget History Graphs (491.2 KB)
On September 25th, Rep. Alan Austerman and Finance Committee staff member, Pete Ecklund briefed the Fiscal Policy Study Group.

Icon of 10/02/14 Fiscal Policy Study Subcommittees 10/02/14 Fiscal Policy Study Subcommittees (58.0 KB)
On October 2nd, the Fiscal Policy Study Group met to discuss proposed study group subcommittees which would closely study several policy topics and report back to the group by December 13th.

Icon of 10/06/14 NASBO Report (Summer 2014) 10/06/14 NASBO Report (Summer 2014) (2.6 MB)
The National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) issued a report in 2014 titled, "Investing in Results: Using Performance Data to Inform State Budgeting." State budget officers discussed their experiences and lessons learned regarding the use of performance information in state budgeting. In addition, eight states were selected as case studies, including Connecticut, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.

Icon of 10/09/14 Mark Foster State K12 Education Spending 10/09/14 Mark Foster State K12 Education Spending (1.1 MB)
On October 9th, Mark A. Foster, CFO of the Anchorage School District gave a presentation about State spending in K-12 education. His presentation focuses on the ASD budget.

Icon of 10/30/14 HB30 Sponsor Statement 10/30/14 HB30 Sponsor Statement (55.8 KB)
HB 30 sponsor statement by Speaker Chenault for discussion at the Fiscal Policy Study Group meeting on 10/30/14

Icon of 10/30/14 Text of Alaska House Bill 30 (2013) 10/30/14 Text of Alaska House Bill 30 (2013) (520.8 KB)
Text of Alaska House Bill 30 for discussion at the Fiscal Policy Study Group meeting on 10/30/14

Icon of 11/03/14 NASBO Report - Capital Budgeting in the States 11/03/14 NASBO Report - Capital Budgeting in the States (7.5 MB)
State by state comparative information on a range of capital budgeting concepts, practices, processes, and policies. National Association of State Budget Officers.

Icon of 12/11/14 Fall Revenue Sources Book 2014 12/11/14 Fall Revenue Sources Book 2014 (8.7 MB)
The Revenue Sources Book is the annual publication that provides a history and projection of state revenues. This publication is a collaborative effort among the Department of Revenue, the Permanent Fund Corporation, and the Office of Management and Budget.

Icon of 12/18/14 FSG John Tichotsky 12/18/14 FSG John Tichotsky (3.3 MB)
On December 18th, 2015, John Tichotsky, PhD, Chief Economist and Audit Master with the Alaska Department of Revenue, gave a presentation to CWN's Fiscal Study Group on the Fall Revenue Forecast.

Icon of 9/11/14 David Morgan Slides 9/11/14 David Morgan Slides (364.5 KB)
David Morgan prepared these slides for the 9/11/14 Fiscal Study group.

2013 (1 file)
Icon of 02/01/13 - Long Term Economic Sustainability for the State of Alaska 02/01/13 - Long Term Economic Sustainability for the State of Alaska (248.2 KB)
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.




Commonwealth North
711 M Street, Suite 104, Anchorage AK 99501
Tel: (907) 276-1414   Fax: (907) 276-6350
info@commonwealth.com