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<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> <html> <head> <title>The Alaska Citizen's Guide to the Budget</title> <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1"> <script language="JavaScript" type="text/JavaScript"> </script> </head>

<body bgcolor="#FFFFFF" text="#000000" link="#000099" onLoad="MM_preloadImages('/images/bttns/budpied.gif','/images/bttns/cashd.gif','/images/bttns/historyd.gif','/images/bttns/compared.gif','/images/bttns/gapd.gif','/images/bttns/mythsd.gif','/images/bttns/boltsd.gif','/images/bttns/programsd.gif','/images/bttns/perspectivesd.gif','/images/bttns/faqsd.gif','/images/bttns/assetsd.gif')">

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<a href=""><img src="/Logos/iserlogobg.gif" width="80" height="88" border="0"></a>
The Institute of Social and Economic Research
Financial Assistance provided by: <a href=""><img src="/Logos/fpclogo_s.gif" width="115" height="63" border="0"></a>
This site looks at many aspects of Alaska's state budget, and it's intended to help Alaskans understand the budget process. We at the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage prepared this guide several years ago. We hope to update it in the future.


<a href="" onMouseOut="MM_swapImgRestore()" onMouseOver="MM_swapImage('budpie',,'/images/bttns/budpied.gif',1)"><img src="/images/bttns/budpie.gif" alt="Where is the money being spent? Where does the money come from? Is the state spending more than its income?" name="budpie" width="103" height="18" border="0"></a>
<a href="" onMouseOut="MM_swapImgRestore()" onMouseOver="MM_swapImage('myths',,'/images/bttns/mythsd.gif',1)"><img src="/images/bttns/myths.gif" alt="What are the most common misconceptions about state finances?" name="myths" width="118" height="18" border="0"></a>
<a href="" onMouseOut="MM_swapImgRestore()" onMouseOver="MM_swapImage('cash',,'/images/bttns/cashd.gif',1)"><img src="/images/bttns/cash.gif" alt="Which sectors of the economy benefit from state spending? What is the total economic impact of state spending?" name="cash" width="146" height="18" border="0"></a> <a href="" onMouseOut="MM_swapImgRestore()" onMouseOver="MM_swapImage('bolts',,'/images/bttns/boltsd.gif',1)"><img src="/images/bttns/bolts.gif" alt="How does the budget work? Why is it so complicated?" name="bolts" width="175" height="18" border="0"></a>
<a href="" onMouseOut="MM_swapImgRestore()" onMouseOver="MM_swapImage('history',,'/images/bttns/historyd.gif',1)"><img src="/images/bttns/history.gif" alt="Has the budget been growing? Have jobs and payrolls been growing?" name="history" width="197" height="18" border="0"></a> <a href="" onMouseOut="MM_swapImgRestore()" onMouseOver="MM_swapImage('programs',,'/images/bttns/programsd.gif',1)"><img src="/images/bttns/programs.gif" alt="Descriptions of some of the most important programs." name="programs" width="88" height="18" border="0"></a>
<a href="" onMouseOut="MM_swapImgRestore()" onMouseOver="MM_swapImage('compare',,'/images/bttns/compared.gif',1)"><img src="/images/bttns/compare.gif" alt="How does public spending in Alaska compare to other states? How has that comparison been changing over time? Why does Alaska spend more?" name="compare" width="216" height="18" border="0"></a> <a href="" onMouseOut="MM_swapImgRestore()" onMouseOver="MM_swapImage('perspectives',,'/images/bttns/perspectivesd.gif',1)"><img src="/images/bttns/perspectives.gif" alt="Some examples of what others are saying." name="perspectives" width="108" height="18" border="0"></a>
<a href="" onMouseOut="MM_swapImgRestore()" onMouseOver="MM_swapImage('gap',,'/images/bttns/gapd.gif',1)"><img src="/images/bttns/gap.gif" alt="What is the problem? Does it have a solution? What are some of the unrealistic solutions?" name="gap" width="119" height="18" border="0"></a> <a href="" onMouseOut="MM_swapImgRestore()" onMouseOver="MM_swapImage('faqs',,'/images/bttns/faqsd.gif',1)"><img src="/images/bttns/faqs.gif" alt="Answers to some commonly asked questions about the budget." name="faqs" width="110" height="18" border="0"></a>
<a href="" onMouseOut="MM_swapImgRestore()" onMouseOver="MM_swapImage('assets',,'/images/bttns/assetsd.gif',1)"><img src="/images/bttns/assets.gif" alt="How big are our financial assets? How are they managed? How can they be used?" name="assets" width="208" height="18" border="0"></a> <a href="" onMouseOut="MM_swapImgRestore()" onMouseOver="MM_swapImage('budget',,'/images/bttns/budgetd.gif',1)"><img src="/images/bttns/budget.gif" alt="Track Alaska's Budget" name="budget" height="18" border="0"></a>
               of Social and Economic Research, 
University of Alaska Anchorage
Mailing Address: 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508
Physical Address: 4500 Diplomacy Drive,Suite 501, Anchorage
Phone: 907-786-7710 Fax: 907-786-7739
<a href="">About ISER</a>
<a href="">Send a Comment</a>
Page Updated: October 18, 2011
 © Copyright 2011, Institute of Social and Economic Research

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<html> <head> <title>3. Budget History</title> <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1"> <style type="text/css"> </style> </head> <body bgcolor="#FFFFFF" text="#000000" link="#3300CC" vlink="#990099" alink="#009999">

<a href="" target="_top"><img src="../Logos/iserlogo.gif" width="113" height="72" border="0"></a>
The Institute of Social & Economic Research

<a name="TopofPage"></a>The Alaska Citizen's Guide to the Budget


provided by:

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="../Logos/fpclogo_s.gif" width="115" height="63" border="0" alt="Fiscal Policy Council of Alaska"></a>
<a href="" target="_top">*Home*</a>
<a href="" target="_top">Comparisons</a>
<a href="6.STATE_ASSETS/6.State_Assets.htm"> </a><a href="" target="_top">Myths</a>
<a href="7.BUDGET_MYTHS/Budget_Myths.htm" target="_top">
             </a><a href="" target="_top">Nuts 

& Bolts</a>
<a href="../12.TRACK_BUDGET/12.TRACK_BUDGET.htm">Track the Budget</a>
Budget History
<a href="3.1.Growth_of_GF.htm">General Fund</a>
<a href="3.2.Growth_of_Total_Appropriations.htm">Appropriations</a>
<a href="3.3.Growth_of_Operating%20Spending.htm">Operating Spending </a>
<a href="3.4.Growth_of_Total_Outlays.htm">Outlays</a>
<a href="3.5.Growth_of_Jobs.htm">Jobs</a>
<a href="3.6.Growth_of_Payroll.htm">Payroll</a>
<a href="3.7_budget_shifting.htm">Budget Shifting</a>


     3. Budget History  

How Has Alaska's Budget Been Changing Over Time?

Three things account for most of the growth in the state budget in recent years: growth of federal grants to the state, growth in spending from the Permanent Fund earnings, and growth in programs self-funded from expansion of economic activity within the state.

It is hard to get a clear picture of the change in the size of the budget over time because there are many ways to define the budget and reporting conventions change from year to year. In this section we look at 4 ways to track the growth of the budget. We also look at growth in state govenment jobs and payroll as proxies for growth in the budget. Finally we look at how tracking budget growth is complicated by the movement of funding for certain activities outside of the state general fund.

The best way to see what is happening is to look at its 4 parts (distinguished by source of revenues and allowable uses of those revenues). These are the general fund, special funds, federal grants, and the Permanent Fund.

The <a href="3.1.Growth_of_GF.htm">general fund</a>, the part of the budget that pays for basic services financed by discretionary revenues, has clearly been falling in nominal, real, and real per capita dollars.

The general fund is only about 1/3 of the entire state budget. <a href="3.2.Growth_of_Total_Appropriations.htm">Approprations</a> consists of all the dollars that the legislature directs to a specific purpose each year—including transfers from one state account to another. Revenues come from the general fund, other state funds (we refer to them here as special funds), federal grants, and earnings of the Permanent Fund. Appropriations have been growing funded by increasing special fund spending, federal grants, and Permanent Fund earnings.

Real per capita appropriations have been increasing, but relatively constant net of appropriations from the Permanent Fund earnings (for payment of the dividend and inflation proofing). And real per capita appropriations from own sources (net of Permanent Fund earnings, federal grants, and some transfers amoung funds) have been slightly trending downward.

The operations of state government can be tracked by looking at <a href="3.3.Growth_of_Operating%20Spending.htm">operating approprations</a> funded by the general fund, special funds, and federal grants. The operating budget has been growing but in real and real per capita terms has been relatively flat or slightly trending downward. Appropriations from own sources (general fund plus special funds but excluding federal grants) has clearly been trending downward in real per capital terms. All the categories of the special funds have been growing.

<a href="3.4.Growth_of_Total_Outlays.htm">Outlays</a> is a measure of state spending reported by the federal government that provides another perspective. It is defined to include all the dollars that flow out of the state treasury—including such things as interest on all state loans, but excluding such things as transfers from one state account to another (like inflation proofing). Outlays have been growing, but trending downward in real per capita terms.

<a href="3.5.Growth_of_Jobs.htm">Jobs</a> have grown very little in the last decade, and <a href="3.6.Growth_of_Payroll.htm">Payroll </a>has been falling in real, inflation corrected dollars.

One of the complicating factors for tracking the size of the budget has been the creation of a large number of new funds for the handling of revenues and expenditures. Some activities formerly paid for out of the general fund are now reported in other parts of the budget. If only the general fund is considered, this gives the impression that the state budget is growing more slowly than is the case. <a href="3.7_budget_shifting.htm">Budget shifting</a> comes largely from the expansion of self-financed activities like the International Airports and management of the portfolio of Permanent Fund assets.


Budget History ^^
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<a href="3.1.Growth_of_GF.htm">Next </a>>

<a href="">Fiscal Policy Papers</a>

<a href="" target="_top">About ISER</a>

Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage
Mailing Address: 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Physical Address: 4500 Diplomacy Drive, Suite 501, Anchorage, Alaska

Page Updated April 22, 2003

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 © Copyright 2011, Institute of Social and Economic Research

5. The Fiscal Gap

Economists and others have been predicting for many years that state finances have been too dependent on declining petroleum revenues. Several conferences and forums held during the 1990s focused on this problem and possible solutions. For a long time, however, little progress was made in dealing with this problem, mostly because oil revenues have been larger than predicted. Time now appears to be running out, and Alaskans are increasingly aware of the need to get state finances on firm ground.

  1. What is it? —A summary of the problem.
  2. New Revenues —How powerful is our unused tax base?
  3. Principles —Rules for comparing different plans to close the fiscal gap.
  4. A Generic Fiscal Plan — A possible road map for a solution.
  5. Other Proposals— Major plans suggested in prior years.
  6. Bogus Solutions —A list of suggestions that won't work

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