Try Out the Balancing-Alaska’s-Budget Game on September 29

Want to practice balancing the state budget in a variety of ways? Want to see how a particular strategy might play out? At lunchtime on Tuesday, September 29, we will set up the Balancing-Alaska's-Budget game in the ISER conference room so anyone can try balancing what the state spends and how to pay for it. Alaska Common Ground and ISER unveiled the game at a recent forum on Alaska's fiscal and economic future. It explains our current state budget crisis in a hands-on and understandable way, with a spinning wheel, scales, and blocks. There won't be any formal talk, but Cliff Groh, chair of Alaska Common Ground, and Bob Loeffler, visiting professor of public policy at ISER, will be there to help the players. Please join us.

When: Tuesday, September 29, 12 to 1
Where: 1901 Bragaw Street, third floor, ISER conference room

1901 Bragaw Street is about two blocks from the intersection of Northern Lights Boulevard and Bragaw Street. Parking will be limited, because an area of the parking lot is blocked off for construction. Do not park in the adjacent parking lot for East High School; the school district can have your car towed. Call 907-786-7710 if you have questions.

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Learn about the Forum on Alaska’s Fiscal and Economic Future

To help Alaskans better understand the big budget problems the state government faces, Alaska Common Ground and ISER hosted a public forum on September 19. The forum introduced a new budget-balancing game, and it included a group of Alaskans presenting their own budget proposals, other Alaskans discussing potential economic effects of reduced state spending, and a panel of policymakers talking about factors that will influence future budget decisions.

Forum handouts
Alaska’s Fiscal Situation in Four Graphs (PDF, 484KB)

Brad Keithley's “Sustainable Budget Proposal” (PDF, 140KB)
Gary Wilken's “Everyone Helps a Little: A Five-Year Fiscal Plan” (PDF, 132KB)
John Havelock's “The Hat Trick” (PDF, 114KB)
Liz Medicine Crow's “Progress Will Come by Investing in Our Own” (PDF, 129KB)

Watch forum videos courtesy of 360 North and Alaska Public Media.

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September 21 Talk at ISER, 12 to 1

Anticipating the Paris Climate Agreement: Politics and Expectations at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate

Late in 2015, the U.N. Climate Change Conference will take place in Paris, bringing countries together to consider a new climate agreement. In a talk at ISER, Alexios Antypas of Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, discussed negotiations to date on the new climate agreement, identified political controversies, and explored likely and possible outcomes. Dr. Antypas is an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy. He specializes in the field of environmental policy and governance and has published widely on environmental policy issues.

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Join Us September 19 and Try Your Hand at Balancing the Budget

To help Alaskans better understand the big budget problems the state government faces, the new Balancing-Alaska's-Budget Game will be introduced at a free public forum September 19 at UAA's Wendy Williamson Auditorium. The forum, Alaska's Fiscal and Economic Future, is presented by Alaska Common Ground and ISER and will examine fiscal and economic issues in a number of ways. A group of Alaskans will discuss and defend their own budget proposals, and audience members will have the chance to vote on those proposals. There will also be a debate between two Alaskans with different visions of Alaska's likely economic future, and a panel of policymakers will discuss factors influencing future decisions and how the public can have more of a  say in those decisions.

The game will provide a new way for Alaskans to think about budget issues. Using a spinning wheel, giant scales, and blocks, game players will try to balance what we spend with how we pay for it. Please join us at this interesting and innovative forum.

What: A free public forum, Alaska's Fiscal and Economic Future

Where: UAA's Wendy Williamson Auditorium

When: Saturday September 19, 9 to 4.

Download a program (PDF, 535KB). For more information, go to

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Connecting Alaskans: A New Book Traces History of Telecommunications in Alaska

Connecting AlaskansA new book by Heather Hudson, an ISER fellow and former director, documents the history of telecommunications in Alaska over a century, from the beginnings of telegraph communications through the spread of broadband today. Dr. Hudson describes the considerable challenges of bringing reliable telecommunications to a huge state with hundreds of small isolated communities, difficult terrain, and harsh weather. The 380-page book is available in both printed and electronic versions from the publisher, the University of Alaska Press.

For ordering information, please visit

Professor Hudson can be reached at

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