The Permanent Fund unofficially grew a modest 1.35 percent on a $52.8 billion portfolio in fiscal year 2016, the result of a volatile 12 months for public financial markets, according to Fund leadership.
Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. Executive Director Angela Rodell said during an Aug. 18 meeting of the policy study group Commonwealth North in Anchorage that market fluctuations followed oil’s wintertime foray to less than $30 per barrel, the first time the dominant commodity had been that cheap for that long since the early 2000s.
This Legislature’s fourth special session began midday Monday when legislators were given bills to address two of Gov. Bill Walker’s 10 original agenda items.
Those bills were an omnibus tax bill and a seemingly noncontroversial bill providing health insurance to families of emergency responders killed in the line of duty.
It took two special sessions in 2015 to pass the budget, and a third special session was held last fall to buy out TransCanada’s share in the Alaska LNG Project.
The state Division of Oil and Gas wants significantly more information from Prudhoe Bay field operator BP and its fellow working owners on how a scaled-back work plan for this year could impact prospects for a gasline down the road.
Oil and Gas Director Corri Feige wrote a letter to senior BP Alaska officials April 11 asking more than a dozen technical questions related to a major gas sales project including drilling plans, management of carbon dioxide pulled from Prudhoe natural gas, gas balancing agreements and efforts to market the gas.
It has been three weeks since legislation to scale back Alaska’s oil and gas tax credit program took a big step backwards to the House Rules Committee.
In the meantime Rules chair Rep. Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, has put forth two very similar versions of House Bill 247 that would all but eliminate the state’s refundable credit program.
Most state employees will give up some, but not all, pay increases in the latest round of union contracts before the Legislature for approval.
Nearly 75 percent of executive branch employees will forgo cost of living allowance, or COLA, raises under the three-year agreements negotiated with the Labor, Trades and Crafts, Alaska State Employee, Confidential Employee and Mount Edgecumbe Teachers bargaining units.
Alaska Airlines keeps making news, seemingly for all the right reasons.
The company announced a $4 billion deal to purchase Virgin America April 4, a deal that when finalized will make Alaska the fifth-largest domestic carrier.
Spokesman Tim Thompson said to Anchorage Chamber of Commerce members April 11 that Alaska will “leapfrog” JetBlue — the airline Alaska reportedly outbid to buy Virgin — to take over the spot as the fifth-largest U.S. airline.
The back-and-forth over who will pay what to state retirement plans has caused plenty of consternation in Juneau the last two weeks, but a new study concludes the debate would be unnecessary if Alaska had just followed its own guidelines the last time state pensions were reformed.
Alaska’s tourism industry should be a bright spot in 2016 as other sectors of the state’s economy face uphill battles.
The final tally of cruise passengers, which often make up more than half of all visitors to the state, is expected to be up about 2 percent over what was a strong 2015, according to Cruise Lines International Association Alaska President John Binkley.
An independent review of the Legislative Council’s options to deal with the Anchorage Legislative Information Office building found the cost of purchasing the building to be nearly on par with moving the Legislature’s Anchorage offices elsewhere.
San Francisco-based Navigant Consulting Director Nigel Hughes concluded in a report dated March 14 that purchasing the Anchorage LIO would cost 4 percent more, on a per square-foot present value basis, than moving to the nearby Downtown Atwood Building, which houses state executive branch agencies.
With little appetite from legislators for a general obligation bond package, bare bones capital budgets the next couple years are probably a harsh reality of the state’s fiscal situation.
The administration’s proposal for a $500 million general obligation, or GO, bond package to fund up to $250 million of capital appropriations in each of the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years received, seemed possible, if not likely, to pass the Legislature based on reactions when the idea was first offered by Gov. Bill Walker in December.
Enstar Natural Gas Co. appears to have locked up 90 percent of its gas supply needs into 2021 after finalizing a deal with Furie Operating Alaska.
The gas supply and purchase agreement filed March 14 with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska is for a firm supply of 6.2 billion cubic feet, or bcf, of natural gas per year from April 2018 through March 2021.
Not surprisingly, Alaska’s fiscal picture got worse with the March 21 release of the 2016 Spring Revenue Forecast.
Total state revenue for the 2016 fiscal year, which ends June 30, is now projected to be about $3.6 billion, down more than 60 percent from the $9.5 billion of income estimated in the Fall 2015 Revenue Forecast released last December.
The next court battle over the value of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System won’t be for at least another five years.
Two settlements over the taxable value of TAPS between the State of Alaska, its owners and municipalities along the pipeline corridor were announced March 1. The agreements fix the value of the 800-mile pipeline, for property tax purposes, at $8 billion through 2020, according to a release from the North Slope Borough.
City-owned Anchorage Municipal Light and Power and Chugach Electric Association agreed to purchase ConocoPhillips one-third interest in the Beluga River Unit gas field for a total of $152 million. Under the agreement ML&P will own 70 percent of the unit share and Chugach will take the remaining 30 percent.
Alaska’s contractors will begin to feel the effects of the new oil reality in 2016 as statewide capital spending declines about 18 percent from last year, according to a construction industry forecast.
The University of Alaska Anchorage Institute for Social and Economic Research projects just more than $7.3 billion will be spent on capital projects in 2016. About $8.9 billion was spent on construction projects in Alaska last year.