Falling oil prices over the past several months have added to the fiscal challenge Alaska’s state government already faced: North Slope oil production, which has largely paid for government operations since the 1970s, is less than a third of what it once was. Gunnar Knapp, ISER’s director, and Cliff Groh, the chair of Alaska Common Ground, are planning a series of presentations to help Alaskans understand the state’s fiscal situation.
Their presentations at ISER are the first in that series, and they encourage the audience to ask questions and offer suggestions for improvement. Gunnar Knapp describes the fiscal situation, providing an overview of the state’s revenues, expenditures, and savings. Cliff Groh discusses the challenges that situation poses and outline the options for dealing with them. They do not advocate for any specific option or course of action, but rather they hope to help set the stage for an informed discussion among Alaskans.