• Alaska Snapshot: What's Happened to the Alaska Economy Since Oil Prices Dropped?

      Guettabi, Mouhcine (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-11-01)
      North Slope oil has paid for most of Alaska state government—and indirectly, a big share of local government—since the 1980s. It’s also been the backbone for much of Alaska’s economic growth over time. But today, a combination of declining oil production and sharply lower oil prices has left the state budget billions of dollars in the red and is reverberating throughout the economy. How has the big drop in oil prices affected the Alaska economy so far? This paper looks at that question, using changes in the number of jobs— statewide, and also by census area and sector—as a gauge. We look specifically at the period from March 2014, when oil prices were over $100 a barrel, through March 2016, when prices had dropped below $40. We use that period because right now reliable employment data are only available through the first quarter of 2016. Also, this is a broad look at job changes, not a detailed analysis of all the specific changes we found.
    • Alaska's $5 Billion Health Care Bill - Who's Paying?

      Goldsmith, Scott; Foster, Mark (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2006)
      Spending for health care in Alaska topped $5 billion in 2005. Just how big is $5 billion? It is, for perspective, one-third the value of North Slope oil exports in 2005—a year of high oil prices. It’s nearly one-sixth the value of everything Alaska’s economy produced last year. In 1991, health-care spending in Alaska was about $1.6 billion. Even after we take population growth into account, spending for health care increased 176% per Alaskan in 15 years. These soaring costs are taking a growing share of family and government budgets, increasing labor costs, and putting businesses at a competitive disadvantage.
    • Anchorage at 90: Changing Fast, With More to Come

      Goldsmith, Scott; Leask, Linda; Howe, Lance (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2005)
      Anchorage began as a boom town, headquarters for construction of the Alaska Railroad. It’s seen many ups and downs since. But after 35 years of growth triggered by oil development—and boosted lately by an infusion of federal money—the city has grown to 277,000 and its economy is bigger, broader, and more dominant statewide. Despite that growth, the city still depends on resource development and state and federal spending (including military spending). It’s still subject to forces beyond its control, chiefly oil prices and production and federal and state policies affecting the flow of money into the economy. As long as Alaska prospers—and that depends a lot on how the state deals with its long-term fiscal problems - Anchorage will prosper.
    • Comparing Fiscal Policy Proposals

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1990)
      This paper is a summary of a larger report which compares 8 fiscal policy proposals to assess what effects each would have over the next 20 years on state spending, the Permanent Fund Dividend, and state savings. The alternatives we assess range from continuing current policies to freezing the budget, to changing the allocation of Permanent Fund earnings.
    • From Oil to Assets: Managing Alaska's New Wealth

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1998)
      Low oil prices always capture headlines in Alaska, because the state government has run mostly on oil revenues for 20 years. So the slide in oil prices this year has once again made us think Alaska is becoming poor, and we worry about more budget cuts and an economic downturn. But two big changes in recent years make Alaska’s current fiscal condition better than it might seem. Sustainable revenues (and spending) are higher than we estimated a few years ago. And with a growing share of revenues from asset earnings, the state has the chance to make its year-to-year revenue flow more stable. Still, despite this good news, problems remain. The state’s fiscal policy has been to divide general purpose revenues into two categories: oil revenues have mostly paid General Fund expenses, and Permanent Fund earnings have been used to pay dividends to Alaskans (as well as to inflation-proof and build the fund balance). Low oil prices gouged a hole in the General Fund budget in 1998, while a strong stock market boosted Permanent Fund earnings. In the following pages we discuss in more detail the good financial news for Alaska and how we estimate “sustainable” spending. We also look at the choices Alaska has for keeping its finances healthy in the long run.
    • How Are We Doing? Monitoring Alaska's Fiscal Condition

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1994)
      Alaska’s government has been down on its luck this year, with low oil prices, a big deficit, and legal disputes over the budget. Despite all that, Alaska still has substantial assets. The state’s share of Alaska oil reserves is worth—even at low oil prices—about $16 billion. The Permanent Fund has a balance of $13 billion and earned $1 billion last year. Pages 2 and 3 of this summary examine what is happening to the state’s assets—and why preserving and building them is so important. The foldout details the risks of relying exclusively on cash reserves. Page 4 provides a simple checklist for monitoring the state’s progress toward the long-term budget strategy called the Safe Landing.
    • Who Will Pay for Balancing the Budget?

      Leask, Linda; Goldsmith, Scott; Berman, Matthew; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1991)
      Alaskans will pay more and get less from state government in the 1990s. But how will the burden of spending cuts and tax increases fall on richer and poorer and urban and rural households? That depends on which policies state officials choose. Alaska faces big and growing budget deficits because the petroleum revenues that mostly paid for state government in the 1980s are steadily shrinking. When those deficits will start is uncertain, but low world oil prices are erasing the budget surplus state officials had expected as a result of the Middle East war. This paper assesses how different taxing and spending policies could affect different kinds of households. As a measure of those effects we examine relative losses in disposable household income. Budget deficits will of course have other effects on households. Some households will be hurt a lot more than others by broad economic losses and reduced government services. Alaskans who lose their jobs will obviously suffer bigger losses than we describe. But relative household income loss is a good measure of the equity of various fiscal policies. We estimate losses in disposable household income by comparing how various fiscal policies reduce state transfer pay-ments and increase state and local taxes.