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News and Announcements

June 17 Talk from 12 to 1 at ISER: Exploring Diverse Perspectives on Risks and Benefits of Oil and Gas Development in Alaska, Greenland, and Norway

Siri Veland, an assistant professor of environmental studies at Brown University in Rhode Island, will talk about her work on a new project examining diverse cultural perspectives on risks and benefits of offshore oil and gas developments in Alaska, Greenland, and Northern Norway. Dr. Veland previously studied environmental change and risk in Northern Australia, and she'll discuss possible overlaps with key issues in the Arctic.

When: June 17, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: 1901 Bragaw Street, Third Floor, Suite 301

Please join us, but remember that ISER has moved to 1901 Bragaw Street, Third Floor, Suite 301. The new location is between Northern Lights Blvd. and DeBarr Road. Enter through Reka Drive, and drive all the way south to the front parking area. If you need more directions, call 907-786-7710. Parking is still free. Download the full announcement (PDF, 204KB).

Note: Those who can’t attend in person can join us remotely over the web or call (907) 786-6755, Conference ID: 475905.

By request, a recording was not made of this presentation.

June 16th, 2015|

ISER Director Addresses Conference on Alaska’s Fiscal Future

Gunnar Knapp, ISER's director, was the opening speaker at Governor Walker's conference, "Building a Sustainable Future: Conversation with Alaskans," held June 5 to 7 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Two former ISER directors, Vic Fischer and Scott Goldsmith, also took part in the conference, which brought together Alaskans from around the state to discuss Alaska's fiscal future. The conference was held at a time when a sudden drop in oil prices has slashed state oil revenues and left the budget for the coming year several billion dollars in the red.

Oil revenues have largely funded state government for more than 30 years. Dr. Knapp's presentation to the conference, An Introduction to Alaska Fiscal Facts and Choices, summarizes the fundamental fiscal problem the state government faces over time: "Alaska oil production is falling and our population is rising. It is hard for falling oil production to support most of state government for a growing population."

The presentation goes on to describe the fiscal choices for Alaskans, unless oil prices rise dramatically and unexpectedly: adjust our spending or how we pay for it. The state government has several practical options—cut spending more, raise new revenues, or use earnings of the Permanent Fund. As Dr. Knapp points out, "None of these options are easy or popular."

Download the presentation (PDF, 2.1MB) or watch a video recording.  If you have questions, get in touch with Gunnar Knapp at Gunnar.Knapp@uaa.alaska.edu. ISER publications are solely the work of individual authors and should be attributed to them, not to ISER, the University of Alaska Anchorage, or the research sponsors.

June 9th, 2015|

The Path to a Fiscal Future: Use Earnings from All Our Assets

The state government's assets could generate enough earnings in fiscal year 2016 to pay the Permanent Fund dividend, boost the size of the Permanent Fund, and cut the expected General Fund deficit from $3.3 billion to just over $1 billion—which would still be a big fiscal challenge but much more manageable. That's the finding of a new analysis by Scott Goldsmith, professor emeritus of economics at ISER.

Those state assets consist of money in the Permanent Fund and other accounts as well as the value of state-owned petroleum still in the ground. Dr. Goldsmith estimates that after first paying the dividend and adding to the Permanent Fund, the state could put $2.2 billion in remaining earnings in the General Fund, which pays for public services. Right now the state uses only current petroleum revenues and smaller sources to cover General Fund spending—but those revenues are expected to fall $3.3 billion short of the estimated $5.5 billion in spending next year.

Read the analysis, The Path to a Fiscal Future: Use Earnings from All our Assets (PDF, 661.6KB). If you have questions, get in touch with Scott Goldsmith at osgoldsmith@alaska.edu or call 907-786-7720.

ISER publications are solely the work of individual authors and should be attributed to them, not to ISER, the University of Alaska Anchorage, or the research sponsors.

April 23rd, 2015|

Kids Count Alaska Data Book Released

kca2013smThe 2013-2014 Kids Count Alaska data book reports that teenagers in the state commit crime at only about half the rate they did 20 years ago, and that Alaska is one of the safest places in the country to be born, with the share of babies born at low birthweight 25% below the national average.

The new data book includes much more information on the health, safety, education, and economic status of Alaska's children and teenagers. Virgene Hanna, a senior researcher at ISER, directs Kids Count Alaska, which is part of the nationwide KIDS COUNT program, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The foundation sponsors programs in all 50 states, presenting data from many sources on the well-being of American children.

Download the data book (PDF, 2.5MB), or request a printed copy from ISER at 907-786-7710. If you have questions, get in touch with Virgene Hanna at 907-786-5431 or mhanna7@uaa.alaska.edu.

ISER publications are solely the work of individual authors and should be attributed to them, not to ISER, the University of Alaska Anchorage, or the research sponsors.

March 26th, 2015|

The Most Important Things to Understand About Alaska’s Fiscal Situation

The fall in oil prices has led to growing concern among Alaskans about the state's fiscal situation. To help Alaskans better understand this critical issue, Gunnar Knapp, ISER's director and a professor of economics, has been making a presentation to organizations around Alaska.

Download the full presentation (pdf, 1.7MB) or a summary (pdf, 467.7KB), The Most Important Things to Understand About Alaska's Fiscal Situation, by Gunnar Knapp. The presentation will be updated over time. If you have questions, get in touch with Gunnar Knapp at 907-786-7717 or Gunnar.Knapp@uaa.alaska.edu.

ISER publications are solely the work of individual authors and should be attributed to them, not to ISER, the University of Alaska Anchorage, or the research sponsors.

January 30th, 2015|
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