Legislative Agenda 2020: CWN’s 13th Annual Legislator Meet and Greet
Wednesday, December 11th
The Dena’ina Center
(doors open at 11:30am)
This Program Has Sold Out
Video of the program will be available after the event.
As Alaskans approach a new legislative session in January, we are facing a number of critical public policy issues. Our legislators will be asked to make important public policy decisions that will affect Alaskans for many years to come. This week, Commonwealth North will once again host face to face discussions between Alaskans and legislators. Your participation is vital to ensuring your voice is heard by legislators and that you know the criteria they will use to make decisions in the upcoming legislative session.
The Senate President and Speaker of the House will keynote this program to present their legislative priorities for 2020. Then, in table discussions, you will have the opportunity to discuss critical public policy issues with legislators. At last year’s Legislator Meet and Greet program a third of Alaska’s legislators joined us for an outstanding luncheon which received very favorable responses from both legislators and Commonwealth North members.
This is not a campaign, political debate, or cross-examination. It is an opportunity to discuss key issues with well-informed, thoughtful Alaskans.
Register online or RSVP to (907) 566-2396.
Thank you to our program sponsors!
Contact the CWN office at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Join a spirited discussion on whether the Permanent Fund should be constitutionally structured as an endowment and what it would mean to Alaska’s finances and dividend program going forward.
Debating the issue will be Ralph Townsend, director of UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), and Gunnar Knapp, ISER’s former director. Adding to the intrigue, they will draw straws at the debate to determine which side of the issue they will argue! Scott Goldsmith, Professor Emeritus and former director at ISER, will moderate the discussion.
Plus, you will get to vote to decide the winning argument!
The Permanent Fund was created by voters in 1976 and has matured over the past 43 years, growing much faster than expected. It is now a world-class fund, with investment opportunities that were not available during its formative years.
While the Fund is established in the Alaska Constitution, the annual draws are prescribed by two statutes. One statute uses earnings to calculate the annual dividend; another uses a Percent of Market Value formula to calculate an annual draw. This earnings-based approach is counter to how endowments are managed. Nearly all endowment funds utilize an annual payout calculation based on the market value of the fund.
A statutory POMV can work for as long as there are sufficient realized earnings each year. If an endowment is constitutionally created, a more stable, reliable source of revenue will be available.
The constitution needs to be amended to change the Permanent Fund into an endowment, which will require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to place it on the ballot for a vote of the people.
Is it time for the Permanent Fund to become an endowment? That’s the question our speakers will help answer.
We will have two topics of discussion this Friday. From 11:30am to noon, we will discuss a draft CWN summary regarding the State’s current moratorium on new projects participating in Alaska’s State Debt Reimbursement Program and school construction funding. We anticipate it being a topic of discussion at next week’s luncheon with legislators.
Then, at noon, we will host Kelly Tshibaka, Commissioner of the Department of Administration. The department oversees much of the internal operations of state government—from accounting to risk management to IT—plus programs that serve Alaskans, such as the Public Defender Agency and Division of Motor Vehicles. She is leading the department’s work to ensure that services are effective and delivered with efficiency; pursuing innovations and cost savings; and achieving results.
A focus on program effectiveness and delivery of results has been a priority in past CWN Study Group reports on the state budget. The Commissioner will brief the study group on the department’s work on these and other accountability measures.
On Friday morning, Senator Natasha von Imhof and Representative Jennifer Johnston will discuss the State’s fiscal options in the next legislative session from their perspective on the House and Senate Finance Committees.
On Friday morning, David will walk the study group through the “Fiscal Summary,” which is compiled by the Legislative Finance Division, to learn where the current year (FY 20) budget and revenues settled after actions by the Legislature and Governor.
This briefing will help provide context for the study group’s November 8th meeting with Senator Natasha von Imhof and Representative Jennifer Johnston about their respective finance committee’s work next session.
“Alaska-based Qilak LNG Inc. (“Qilak LNG”), a Lloyds Energy company, announced today that a Heads of Agreement (HOA) has been entered into with ExxonMobil Alaska Production Inc. regarding the potential supply of natural gas from the Point Thomson field to Qilak LNG’s proposed Alaska North Slope liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project (Qilak LNG 1 Project). The HOA foresees ExxonMobil providing at least 560 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) of natural gas to Phase 1 of the Qilak LNG 1 Project, based on the design concept of offshore liquefaction and loading, and icebreaking LNG carriers, to export 4 million tons per year (MTPA) of LNG over a 20-year term.
The Qilak LNG 1 Project would deliver on Alaska’s long-held goal of commercializing North Slope natural gas,” said former Alaska Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell, Chairman and CEO of Qilak LNG. “With this HOA and our recently completed pre-feasibility study, Qilak will now begin extensive feasibility efforts, including preliminary permitting, with a target of reaching Final Investment Decision (FID) by 2021.””
Join us for details and discussion of this important project.
Cliff Groh, in collaboration with UAA’s Institute for Social and Economic Research, published a paper on the State’s Public Employee’s Retirement System and the Teacher’s Retirement System on how the State is managing these retirement systems and the options for funding future liabilities. Cliff will present his paper as we begin our understanding of PERS/TRS and best practices for managing the State’s debt and future obligations.
On Friday, Casey Sullivan, Government and Public Affairs Manager at Marathon Petroleum Company, will brief us on Marathon’s projects in Alaska and its plans for the future.
Marathon has made a number of acquisitions in Alaska including the site of the former Flint Hills refinery in Fairbanks, and the former Tesoro refinery in Nikiski after a the purchase of Andeavor which acquired the refinery in 2017. Marathon also took ownership of the former ConocoPhillips LNG plant in Nikiski when it purchased Andeavor.