BIGGER PFD, SMALLER REVENUE
Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s early budget is due at the Alaska Legislature on Dec. 15.
His budget team posted it online today with only a few significant changes, but promised more to come in amendments. Amendments are due by Feb. 15.
For expected cuts? Nothing is off the table, but nothing is set in stone.
The three big changes are in the assumptions:
- Not as much revenue should be expected for state coffers as was promised in the Walker budget.
- The Walker budget taxed Alaskans’ Permanent Fund dividends in order to balance the budget.
- The Walker budget was out of balance by $1.6 billion.
Dunleavy’s revised Revenue forecast book for 2019 and 2020 says oil is not, in fact, going to sell for an average of $76 a barrel in 2019 or $75 in 2020, as was predicted by the previous governor.
The more realistic average is $64 a barrel.
The amount of money being forecasted for paying Alaska Permanent Fund dividends is now at $1.94 billion, which is a placeholder amount. It would mean dividends of about $3,000 for every eligible Alaskan. In the past, and in this Administration, the amount of the dividend is calculated in August, after the end of the fiscal year.
That means there’s an expense to the state of an additional $900 million that wasn’t accounted for in the Walker budget.
How much will need to come out of the Constitutional Budget Reserve? None so far, said Office of Management and Budget Director Donna Arduin.
But right now, there’s a $1.6 billion unallocated spending reduction, and everything is on the table for those reductions, she said.