Contributed by Beth Fread
According to Legislative Finance’s Fiscal Year (FY) summaries, available on www.legfin.akleg.gov/FisSum/DisplayReports.php, from 2015 through 2018 the State of Alaska will/has averaged $8.14 billion dollars in revenues, $10.82 billion in expenditures and a deficit of $2.53 billion. Our legislatively available appropriation reserves (savings accounts) averaged $15.85 billion. If an average $2.53 billion in reserve appropriations for these four years had been made our reserves would still be $5.63 billion. Amazingly enough, our beginning FY 2018 Earning Reserves (ER) estimated value is $9.03 billion. The reason for this is that the Permanent Fund Corpus (the big bag of money) statutorily replenishes the ER every year.
The difference between the FY 2015 and FY 2018 budgets is 31.4%, FY16 and FY18 is 10%, and FY17 and FY18 is 10%. During 2015, all of the cuts came from the general fund and capital projects (roads, schools, community bridges, etc.).
At this point we hope that you are asking yourself, “Why did the governor take half my Dividend in 2016 and why is the legislature trying to restructure the Permanent Fund, collect income and capital gains taxes, as well as reduce mineral resource earnings going into the Permanent Fund?”
If so, then thank you. If you are not asking yourself that question, then you need to ask Brad Keithley and Mission Critical Alaska to visit your community. Mr. Keithley has been advocating for sustainable budget for Alaska and explaining how to achieve one in person and on Facebook under Alaskans for a Sustainable Budget. For the past two years United for Liberty, and now Mission Critical Alaska (www.MissionCriticalAlaska.com) have been reporting where all of the money pots are hidden in the budgets created to run Alaska’s government. This wealth of information is only useful if you seek it (www.legfin.akleg.gov/FisSum/DisplayReports.php).
A relatively small group of people (about 300) have been trying to make sure that their communities are aware of these fiscal facts. Now they need all of us to become informed and speak out to the governor and the legislature to stop them in their tracks. We are obviously not and haven’t been in financial crisis. Now is the time and today is the day. We’re running out of time and days every moment you do not participate.