Difference between revisions of "Alaska state budget and finances"

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==Budget transparency==
==Budget transparency==
: ''See also: [[Evaluation of Alaska state website]]''
: ''See also: [[Evaluation of Alaska state website]], [[Evaluation of Alaska state website]] and [[Constitutional provisions regarding reading of bills]]''
Alaska currently has partial transparency, because of its [http://fin.admin.state.ak.us/dof/checkbook_online/index.jsp Checkbook Register Online.]  
Alaska currently has partial transparency, because of its [http://fin.admin.state.ak.us/dof/checkbook_online/index.jsp Checkbook Register Online.]  
: ''See also: [[Evaluation of Alaska state website]] or sample [[proactive disclosure|transparency]] legislation at the [http://www.sunshinestandard.org Sunshine Standard]''
: ''See also: [[Constitutional provisions regarding reading of bills]]''
Art. 2, Section 14 of the [http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cts=1331146907676&ved=0CCYQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fw3.legis.state.ak.us%2Fdocs%2Fpdf%2Fcitizens_guide.pdf&ei=HbFXT_26FIGUgwfvk8HDDA&usg=AFQjCNEQjLDzvYsxW9w6ZJqG4L_QcBvdJQ state constitution] provides that bills must be read three times in each house on three separate days, 2nd reading dispensable by ¾ of House.
Art. 2, Section 14 of the [http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cts=1331146907676&ved=0CCYQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fw3.legis.state.ak.us%2Fdocs%2Fpdf%2Fcitizens_guide.pdf&ei=HbFXT_26FIGUgwfvk8HDDA&usg=AFQjCNEQjLDzvYsxW9w6ZJqG4L_QcBvdJQ state constitution] provides that bills must be read three times in each house on three separate days, 2nd reading dispensable by ¾ of House.

Revision as of 13:21, 1 January 2014

Alaska state budget

Flag of Alaska.png
Budget calendar:  Annual
Fiscal year:  2013
Date signed:  May 14, 2012
Other state budgets
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Alaska's Gov. Sean Parnell signed Alaska's 2013 $12.1 billion in operating and capital spending budgets into law on May 14, 2012.[1] It increases spending from the FY2012 budget, which totaled $11.4 billion, marking a 3.3 percent increase in FY2013.[2]

Alaska operates on an annual budget cycle. Its fiscal year begins on July 1 and it is currently in FY2013.

As of August 2012, Alaska had a total state debt of approximately $22,506,229,000, when calculated by adding the total of outstanding official debt, pension and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) liabilities, Unemployment Trust Fund loans, and current budget gap.[3] That is down from the prior year's debt of $27,962,377,000.[4]

The total Alaska state debt per capita was $31141.09 per state resident as of 2012.[5] The state has the third highest debt figure per capita of the 50 states.[5]

See also: The Alaska State Budget on State Budget Solutions

Federal Aid to State Budget

The chart below represents how much of the state’s budget comes from the federal government. The number is the corresponding ranking in relation to the rest of the nation (if #1, the state receives the highest percentage of federal funding in the nation):

State 2008 2009 2010 2011
Alaska 13.35% (#50) 20.73% (#50) 26.81% (#49) 24.01% (#50)
  • Figures are calculated by dividing each state’s intergovernmental revenue into its general revenue.[6][7]

FY2014 State Budget

Gov. Parnell introduced his proposed FY2014 budget on Dec. 14, 2012. Including appropriations from the Permanent Fund, the total authorization to spend in Parnell’s FY2014 budget proposal is $12.78 billion, less than the total amount is $13.18 billion in the prior budget year.[8]

The FY2014 operating budget is $5.75 billion, up from $5.7 billion in FY2013. The capital budget for FY2014 as proposed would be less than half of what it was in FY2013, at $795.2 million, down from FY2013's capital budget of $1.93 billion. The combined total in spending is $10.86 billion (without appropriations from the Permanent Fund), compared to $11.37 billion in projected total revenue, which would leave the state with a surplus.[8]

FY2013 State Budget

The Operating and Capital budgets as enacted can be found here. A budget summary prepared by the Office of Management and Budget can be found here.

The budget increased spending by 3.3 percent over FY2012.[9]

Gov. Sean Parnell signed Alaska's 2013 $12.1 billion in operating and capital spending budgets into law on May 14, 2012.[10] The governor vetoed a total of $67 million in spending, with $50 million of that for a lump-sum contribution to the underfunded Judicial Retirement System.[9]


The final budget spends $50 million more on education than what the governor had initially proposed.[9] That amount brings total spending on K-12 education and pupil transportation budget to $1.2 billion for FY2013.[11] In addition to that spending, Alaska directly funds more than $329 million for school district retirement system unfunded liability for the Public Employees’ and Teachers’ Retirement Systems and more than $431 million for building schools.[11]

Although the governor vetoed $1 million in spending on pre-kindergarten programs, the state will increase spending to reach children before kindergarten to $14 million, an increase of 38 percent.[12]

Capital Budget

The Capital Budget totals $2.9 billion, including $1.9 billion in state general funds. It spends more than $1.6 billion was appropriated for highways, aviation, the Alaska Marine Highway, harbors, village safe water, and municipal water and sewer projects.[11]

Governor's Proposed Operating Budget

The governor proposed the $12.1 billion total spending package of the operating and capital budgets for FY2013, more than $800 million less than FY2012, on Dec. 16, 2011.[13] The governor said that under his proposal, the state will have surplus revenue of $3.7 billion. The proposed state general fund operating budget increases 4.5%. The proposed capital budget totals $1.8 billion, including $882 million in state general funds.[14]

The Governor's proposed budget can be found here.

Legislative Proposed Operating Budget

On April 4, 2012, the Senate unanimously passed a $9.5 billion FY2013 general fund state budget which proposes putting $2 billion into state savings and an additional $1 billion toward $11 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. [15][16] It increases spending over last year's $9 billion budget.[17]

The House passed its version of the a $9.5 billion state operating budget by a vote of 32-5 on March, 2012.[16]

The operating budget was then sent to a conference committee, where negotiators from both chambers agreed to the Senate's approach to funding Alaska Performance Scholarships by tying a portion of the funding to HB104. Gov. Sean Parnell had urged the conference committee members to provide the $8 million he requested for the scholarship program and not tie a portion of the funding to HB104.[18]

  • Education spending

The legislature passed SB182, which provides funding for education. It provides $42 million additional funds to education, $12 million more than Gov. Parnell called for in his budget.[19]

  • Capital budget

The legislature passed the $2.9 billion capital budget and the governor said he did not anticipate making any significant vetoes.[20] The capital budget is SB160, which can be found here.

FY2012 State Budget

Alaska's Gov. Sean Parnell on June 29, 2011, signed budgets totaling $11.4 billion, $6.9 billion of which came from the state’s general fund. The governor vetoed $400 million, many of the cuts aimed at one-time projects in the capital budget. Parnell explained that his budget vetoes were to ensure the state lived within its means.[21] The vetoes reduced the budget from $3.2 billion to $2.8 billion.[22] The governor said that although the state is expected to end the year with $15 billion in available savings, it is also facing an unfunded retirement liability of $11 billion.[23]

The Appropriations Bill for FY2012 can be found here.

At the start of FY2012, the state had $15.9 billion in undesignated savings, a category that includes the constitutional and statutory budget reserve funds and Permanent Fund earnings reserve account. Total market value of the Permanent Fund was at approximately $39 billion.[24]

Education Spending

For FY2012, Alaska devoted 23.0% of its total spending to education, up from 21.6% in FY2009.[25]

Fiscal Year Total Spending[26] Education Spending[27] Percent Education Spending
2009 $14.3 billion $3.1 billion 21.6%
2010 $13.9 billion $3.1 billion 22.3%
2011 $13.8 billion $3.2 billion 23.1%
2012 $14.3 billion $3.3 billion 23.0%

Legislative Budget

The Alaska House adjourned on May 14, 2011, three days early. The House had been locked in a month-long budget dispute with the Senate and its adjournment forced the Senate either to accept the House's version of the omnibus capital bill or to let the state go without the budget. The Senate agreed.[28]

The capital budget was higher than Gov. Sean Parnell had indicated he'd be willing to accept. He had said that he would approve expenditures of $2.8 billion if lawmakers also passed a bill addressing oil taxes, and they did not do so.[29]

Governor's Proposed Budget

Gov. Sean Parnell introduced his $11 billion budget for FY2012.[30]

The governor's proposed budget did not include $123 million in Medicaid increases that was picked up by the 2010 federal stimulus program, but is now the state's responsibility in 2011. Instead, the governor budgeted for the regular cost increase, $46 million, and said he planned to work with other governors to try to get the federal government to absorb that increase.[30] The budget also included an extra $1 million to fund legal challenges to the federal government on development and environmental protection issues, $100 million for deferred maintenance of state facilities and $10 million for the Southeast Energy Fund.[30]

FY2012 began July 1, 2011, and Gov. Sean Parnell said that he wanted Alaska to live within its means, but his budget director, Karen Rehfeld, said that there has been no talk about spending caps, restrictions or cuts.[31]

The governor announced in September 2010 that his goal for the FY2012 operating budget was that it hold the line. He said that to achieve that goal he was prepared to make cuts in some areas and increases in the areas to which he refers as "constitutional priorities," including resource development, education, transportation and public safety.[32]

A new amendment to the Alaska Transportation Improvement Program would increase its budget by $30 million by 2013. Of the $30 million, $25 would go towards improving AMATS’ highway safety improvement plan.[33]

Budget transparency

See also: Evaluation of Alaska state website, Evaluation of Alaska state website and Constitutional provisions regarding reading of bills

Alaska currently has partial transparency, because of its Checkbook Register Online.

Art. 2, Section 14 of the state constitution provides that bills must be read three times in each house on three separate days, 2nd reading dispensable by ¾ of House.

Alaska Check Register Online

The Alaska Check Register is an online database of state expenditures that was launched in February 2008.Stating, "Alaskans deserve open, transparent government," Governor Sarah Palin announced that all state expenditures over $1,000 would be available online. It is available at the Alaska Department of Administration website, Division of Finance.

See also: Alaska transparency legislation

Government tools

The following table is helpful in evaluating the level of transparency provided by a state spending and transparency database:

Source Sponsor Data year Searchable Line-item expenditures Grants Dept/Agency budgets Gov. lobbying Salaries/Pensions
Alaska Department of Finance Government 2008-2012
Not on Ballot
Proposed allot measures that were not on a ballot
This measure did not or
will not appear on a ballot
Not on Ballot
Proposed allot measures that were not on a ballot
This measure did not or
will not appear on a ballot
Not on Ballot
Proposed allot measures that were not on a ballot
This measure did not or
will not appear on a ballot
Not on Ballot
Proposed allot measures that were not on a ballot
This measure did not or
will not appear on a ballot
Not on Ballot
Proposed allot measures that were not on a ballot
This measure did not or
will not appear on a ballot

Alaska Checkbook Register Online features and other tools:

  • Expenditures are not searchable in the browser.
  • Line-item expenditures are not available. The only expenditures provided in the checkbook are payments made to vendors.
  • A comprehensive list of state grants is not available, but The Community Funding Database provides information on the year, grant type, recipient, project description and status, award amount, disbursement information, and staff contact for grants made to local Alaska communities.[34]
  • One source of local spending information is the Capital Projects Database, which contains descriptions, funding levels, and status for over 16,000 capital projects in Alaska communities.[35]
  • Dept/Agency Budgets do not seem to be available.
  • Public employee salaries are not posted, but salary schedules for all levels of employees are available.[36]

Twenty-six different types of payments are excluded for confidentiality reasons.[37]

Independent transparency sites


Multi-Measure Budget Transparency Profile

The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois has created a multi-measure transparency profile for Alaska, which measures state transparency as of September 2011 using indicators from a range of organizations, including Sunshine Review. These indicators measure both website transparency and other recognized facets of governmental transparency. In addition, IGPA presents four unique indicators of non-transparency based on the observation that transfers or reassignments between general and special funds can obscure the true fiscal condition of a state.

In addition to the individual state profile, IGPA offers a 50-state comparison and profiles for other states.

Budget background

Alaska does not have a state income tax or statewide sales tax. 82% of Alaska’s estimated state revenues for 2010 are from oil taxes, royalties and fees.[38] Alaska has the lowest tax burden of all 50 states.[39]

Alaska's fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30 of the following year, with year-end accruals made through August. Every state agency submits requests and statistics on the revenue and spending before the Governor releases a recommended budget to the Legislature by December 15. The Legislature convenes on the third Tuesday in January. Once the House and the Senate approve and make any necessary changes to the budget bill, the bill is passed back to the Governor. If an appropriation bill is transmitted to the governor after session, the governor has 20 days to review the bill and exercise line item veto power.[40]

See also: Alaska state budget (2008-2009) for more information.

Accounting principles

See also: Alaska government accounting principles

Article IX, Section 14 of the Alaska State Constitution provides that "The legislature shall appoint an auditor to serve at its pleasure. He shall be a certified public accountant. The Auditor shall conduct post-audits as prescribed by law and shall report to the legislature and to the governor.”[41]

The Legislative Budget and Audit Committee is responsible for overseeing the Division of Legislative Audit. The Committee is composed of five members from the Senate and five members from the House of Representatives.[42]

Audits are performed by the Division of Legislative Audit in order to ensure that Alaska state administrators comply with financial regulations and adequately manage their state programs and are published on their Web site. Pat K. Davidson has served as the Alaska Legislative Auditor since 1997.[42]

Credit Rating Fitch Moody's S&P
Alaska[43] AA Aa2 AA+


Between February 2009 and June 2013, Alaska received $2,030,660,000.00 in federal funding.[44]

Public Employees

See also: Alaska public employee salaries
See also: Alaska public pensions

According to 2008 Census data, the state of Alaska and local governments in the state employed a total of 62,644 people.[45] Of those employees, 48,124 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $224,039,245 per month and 14,520 were part-time employees paid $15,701,767 per month.[45] More than 50% of those employees, or 31,622 employees, were in education or higher education.[45]

The total number of state and local government employees was up slightly from the 61,483 employees of state and local government according to the 2007 Census data.[46]

Most state employees work a 37.5 hour workweek, with standard hours of 8:00 am—4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.[47]

See also

External links

Additional reading


  1. Office of Governor Sean Parnell, "Governor Parnell Approves Budget Priorities", May 14, 2012
  2. Juneau Empire "Juneau projects largely escape Parnell's vetoes" June 29, 2011
  3. State Budget Solutions "State Budget Solutions' third annual State Debt Report shows total state debt over $4 trillion" Aug. 28, 2012
  4. State Budget Solution “Report reveals aggregate state debt exceeds $4 trillion” Oct. 24, 2011
  5. 5.0 5.1 State Budget Solutions "State debt more than $37,000 per private worker, $13,000 per capita" Oct. 2, 2012
  6. US Census Federal Aid to State and Local Governments
  7. Tax Foundation' "Monday Map: Federal Aid to State Budgets. Accessed October 15, 2013
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Juneau Empire "Parnell rolls out 'leaner' budget proposal" Dec. 15, 2012
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 The Juneau Empire "Parnell signs state budgets" May 15, 2012
  10. Office of Governor Sean Parnell, "Governor Parnell Approves Budget Priorities", May 14, 2012
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Stories in the News "Governor Parnell Signs Budget" May 15, 2012
  12. Anchorage Daily News "Parnell vetoes $66 million from Alaska budget" May 15, 2012
  13. State Budget Solutions "Gov. Parnell proposes $12.1B spending plan" Dec. 17, 2011
  14. 2013 Alaska State Budget Roll-Out by Gov. Parnell Dec. 15, 2011
  15. The Fairbanks Daily News Miner "Tanana Adventure Sports State Senate budget provides for savings, pensions" April 4, 2012
  16. 16.0 16.1 Anchorage Daily News "House sends $9.5 billion operating budget to Senate" March 16, 2012
  17. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named sent
  18. The Wausau Daily Herald "Work wraps on operating budget" April 14, 2012
  19. Sitnews.us "FISCAL YEAR 2013 K-12 EDUCATION PLAN ANNOUNCED" April 14, 2012
  20. The Anchorage Daily News "Governor says capital budget vetoes will be minimal" April 18, 2012
  21. Juneau Empire "Juneau projects largely escape Parnell's vetoes" June 29, 2011
  22. KTVA.com "Parnell's Vetoes Prompt Allegation of Retaliation" June 29, 2011
  23. Juneau Empire "Juneau projects largely escape Parnell's vetoes" June 29, 2011
  24. The Associated Press "Alaska lawmakers to weigh how much to save" Jan. 16, 2012
  25. State Budget Solutions "Throwing Money At Education Isn't Working" Sept. 12, 2012
  26. USGovernmentSpending.com "Alaska Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  27. http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1997_2017ALb_13s1li111mcn_20t USGovernmentSpending.com "Alaska Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  28. FoxNews.com "Alaska House Adjourns Early" May 15, 2011
  29. Forbes "Alaska special session ends amid drama; now what?" May 16, 2011
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 The Juneau Empire "Parnell unveils $11B spending plan" Dec. 16, 2010
  31. The San Francisco July 21, 2010
  32. Businessweek "Alaska gov wants hold-the-line operating budget" Sept. 14, 2010
  33. Watchdog, Anchorage to see $30 million increase in transportation spending, Nov. 11, 2010
  34. Grants: Community Funding Database
  35. Capital Funding: Capital Projects Database
  36. Division of Finance, Salary Schedules
  37. Payment systems excluded based on confidentiality analysis
  38. Reuters, “Alaska sees $1.25 billion budget gap on oil price drop,” February 19, 2009
  39. Tax Foundation "Monday Maps: State and Local Tax Burdens vs. State Tax Collections" May 2010
  40. State of Alaska, "Life cycle of a budget," retrieved October 7,2009 (PPT)
  41. Alaska Division of Legislative Audit Web site, retrieved October 7, 2009
  42. 42.0 42.1 Legislative Budget & Audit Committee Web site, retrieved October 7, 2009
  43. California State Treasurer, “Comparison of Other States’ General Obligation Bond Ratings”
  44. Recovery, "Stimulus Spending by State"
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 2008 Alaska Public Employment U.S. Census Data
  46. 2007 Alaska Public Employment Data
  47. Employee Benefits Summary