Morning Headlamp — Permanent Fund CEO Weighs in on Fund Developments

Permanent Fund Time. CEO of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. and a former commissioner of the Alaska Department of Revenue Angela Rodell penned an opinion piece in the Alaska Dispatch News. According to Rodell, “The Prudhoe Bay lease sale raised $900 million, while the state budget for fiscal year 1968 was a mere $112 million. This prodigious outcome demonstrated Alaska could, in fact, generate revenues to maintain and build state infrastructure – roads, water systems, schools – in support of our communities. Given the list of needs throughout Alaska, it was no surprise the $900 million was quickly spent on a variety of priorities, including infrastructure and social programs. The velocity of that spending and its impact on the state’s economy, however, caused our leaders to take a step back.” Rodell closed by thanking her fellow Alaskans for continuing to believe in her leadership.

The Republican-led Alaska Senate majority on Friday proposed a new deficit-reduction bill involving Permanent Fund dividend reductions and provisions to limit government spending. The House Majority plan for the Permanent Fund is a reduced dividend and an income tax with no spending limitations. 

Full weight. In a Feb. 7 letter addressed to President Trump, Gov. Bill Walker asked for a “federal wish list” to help expedite the Alaska LNG project that seeks to sell huge reserves of North Slope gas to Asian utilities. Walker termed the project an “ideal” megaproject, as the president moves ahead with his $1 trillion plan to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan are working to remove one hurdle with legislation that would allow the pipeline to run through the non-wilderness portion of Denali National Park and Preserve, said Nicole Daigle, communications director for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chaired by Murkowski. Murkowski has said that would help reduce project costs.

According to reports, U.S. crude oil exports could reach 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2017, exceeding the amount shipped by Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Ecuador, Gabon, Libya and Qatar, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg. “Trump’s soundbites and actions have put the industry on steroids,” Forbes contributor Gaurav Sharma said.

According to the Alaska Dispatch News, halfway through the Legislature’s 90-day session, the Republican-led Senate and the largely Democratic House majority are still drifting apart, with Senators pushing for a spending cap and steep budget cuts as the House advances an income tax proposal and increased oil and gas taxes. They also have deficit-reduction plans on parallel tracks in each chamber, but the House and Senate versions don’t match up. The differences between them will ultimately be resolved in negotiations between leaders — just like the past two years. “You come together, pass it to the governor, and the governor has to sign it,” Homer Republican Rep. Paul Seaton, co-chair of the House Finance Committee, said in an interview. “The process is the process.”


First Reads

Send the Oil: What America Gains from Trump’s Big Energy Push
The National Interest, Anthony Fenson, March 5, 2017

Alaska governor asks Trump to throw his weight behind Alaska LNG project
Alaska Dispatch News, Alex DeMarban, March 5, 2017

Alaska Permanent Fund: The difference between debate and disaster
Alaska Dispatch News, Angela Rodell, March 5, 2017

Alaska lawmakers are following a budget path that’s ended in gridlock before. Will it be different this time?
Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, March 5, 2017

Alaska Senate Majority unveils new Permanent Fund bill
The Arctic Sounder, March 4, 2017

Midway Through Session, Lawmakers Looking for Fiscal Fix
US News and World Report, Becky Bohrer, March 5, 2017