Alaska's annual budget deficit is over $1 billion and growing every year, and local leaders are looking for ways to make fiscal changes.
Oil production in Alaska continues to decline and experts estimate that annual deficits may reach $2 billion or $3 billion in coming years. The state spent $7.2 billion in 2014, almost $2 billion more than is considered sustainable by the Institute of Social and Economic Research in Alaska.
One option discussed for saving money is to reduce the annual Permanent Fund dividend. The Permanent Fund, however, is protected constitutionally. In 1999 a notable 83% of Alaska's citizens voted to fully protect it. According to a recent Alaska Dispatch News article "voters will never agree to take money out of their own pocket and give it to the government." This may explain why politicians in Alaska are reluctant to present new fiscal plans for the state.
Twenty-five percent of Alaska's oil profits are put into this fund so that future generations benefit from oil revenues.
Other solutions for the Alaskan deficit that bypass touching Permanent Fund money are reduction of spending and implementation of broad-based taxes.
How do you think the growing deficit in Alaska should be addressed? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!