Brad Keithley (NGP Photo) Commentary. The Alaska "House Special Committee on Fiscal Policy " (this week) released a new website focused on "Understanding Alaska's Budget." The website may explain much more than the authors intend about how Alaska has worked itself into its coming fiscal crisis -- and why recent legislatures have made the problem worse.
The press release announcing the website provides the first clue. The release quotes the Chair of the House Special Committee as follows:
“We’re in the cat-bird seat, financially, now, but with throughput this week under 400,000 barrels, and with a volatile oil price, we need to prepare people for the likelihood of lower revenue. That means also preparing to handle the challenges before we reach a crisis – that’s what this is meant for.”
Alaska is not in "the cat-bird seat, financially, now." Alaska has a temporary cash surplus, the same way that you or I would if we treated as current disposable income the money that we otherwise need to put away for our children's college tuition or our retirement. Spending it now means that our children -- and us -- will be worse off in the future as our income winds down but our spending needs continue.
Jeff Cook Opinion, ADN. The opinion piece by Shannyn Moore in the Sunday, July 15 edition of the Daily News was inaccurate, unfair and misleading. As our employees and the Fairbanks community know, the Flint Hills Resources refinery in North Pole has not been thriving on profits. We are in the process of idling the second of our three crude units because of three economic challenges that threaten the future of our refinery. Those challenges are the exceptionally high costs of crude, energy and the "quality bank."