Fiscal Policy Study Group

In January, 2017, Commonwealth North completed our newest report, The States Operating Budget:  Critical Crossroads, Choices, and Opportunities (Update).

Our Fiscal Policy Study Group met nearly every week since June 2015 to bring an update to Commonwealth North Members and Alaskans on state spending since our first report on the State’s operating budget, and to offer recommendations to policy makers.  While the good news is that progress has been made in reducing state spending over the last two years, concern continues that the state does not have the revenue to afford even this reduced level of recurring obligations in the operating budget.

Commonwealth North recognizes that there are many approaches to addressing long-term stability for the state as well as its citizens.  Commonwealth North’s Board of Directors believes that a crucial first step – rightsizing state spending – is a fundamental starting point for sustainable spending in the future, which will only be strengthened by stable and diverse revenue sources.

This study was chaired by Cheryl Frasca, Director of the Office of Management and Budget from 2002 to 2006, and Eric Wohlforth, Of Counsel with Jermain, Dunnagan & Owens, P.C., former Trustee of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation from 1995 to 2006, and Commissioner of the Department of Revenue from 1970-1972.

 

Scope of the 2015 report

In past 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.

Useful Links

Check back to this page as we add more information.

2016 (9 files)
Icon of 10/28/16 FAC United For Liberty FY 2017 10/28/16 FAC United For Liberty FY 2017 (6.5 MB)
On October 28th, 2016 Ric Davidge and Michael Chambers with United for Liberty Alaska presented their report for cutting state spending and addressing the state s fiscal challenges.

Icon of 10/26/16  Ric Davidge 10/26/16 Ric Davidge (371.3 KB)
On October 28th, 2016 Ric Davidge, from United for Liberty AK, gave a presentation on proposed state budget cuts. This handout was part of his presentation.

Icon of 09/30/16 FAC Jerry Burnett 09/30/16 FAC Jerry Burnett (504.9 KB)
On September 30th, 2016, Jerry Burnett, Deputy Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Revenue, gave a presentation to the Fiscal Policy Study Group about the Pension Obligation Bond Corporation’s plan to issue bonds to help meet the State’s fiscal challenges.

Icon of 08/26/16 Seaton HB 365 PPT 08/26/16 Seaton HB 365 PPT (335.5 KB)
On August 26th, 2016, Representative Paul Seaton met with CWN’s Fiscal Policy Study Group and presented his legislation HB365, Individual Income Tax & Permanent Fund Refundable Tax Payment. This is his PowerPoint presentation.

Icon of 08/26/16 Paul Seaton Handout 08/26/16 Paul Seaton Handout (1.4 MB)
On August 26th, 2016, Representative Paul Seaton met with CWN’s Fiscal Policy Study Group and presented his legislation HB365, Individual Income Tax & Permanent Fund Refundable Tax Payment. This is the handout for the presentation.

Icon of 08/18/16 Angela Rodell 08/18/16 Angela Rodell (419.5 KB)
On August 18th, 2016, Angela Rodell, Executive Director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation gave a presentation to CWN’s Fiscal Study Group about the Permanent Fund’s investment strategy.

Icon of 08/12/16 FAC Budget Info Sources 08/12/16 FAC Budget Info Sources (2.8 MB)
On August 12, 2016, Fiscal Study Group Co-Chair Cheryl Frasca gave a presentation to the group on where to find detailed state budget information online.

Icon of 07/22/16 Pat Pitney Budget Handouts 07/22/16 Pat Pitney Budget Handouts (213.7 KB)
On July 22nd, 2016, Pat Pitney, State OMB Director, briefed the Fiscal Study Group on the cuts and changes to employee benefits the State has enacted over the past several years in order to meet the current budget crisis. This document contains detailed budget information discussed at the meeting.

Icon of 07/22/16 FAC Pat Pitney 07/22/16 FAC Pat Pitney (1.2 MB)
On July 22nd, 2016, Pat Pitney, State OMB Director, briefed the Fiscal Study Group on the cuts and changes to employee benefits the State has enacted over the past several years in order to meet the current budget crisis.




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