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.
- Glossary of State Budget Terms
- Office of Management and Budget – For detailed information on state budgets by department:
- Click here, then scroll down to “Operating and Capital Details by Department” and select a department to view.
- Summary Performance Measures by Department
- Office of Management and Budget: FY2015 10-Year Plan
- Alaska Legislature: Legislative Finance Division
- Alaska Health Care Commission Link: What the Health Care Commission is Reading
- Fall Revenue Sources Book 2014: Click to download
- Department of Revenue Budget Calculator: Click to download
- Guide to finding state budget info online: Click to download
- 2015 Performance review of Health and Social Services: Click to download
Check back to this page as we add more information.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.