Alaska Policy Forum (APF) issued the following statement in response to today’s (Dec. 11th, 2019) release of the Governor of Alaska’s proposed fiscal year 2021 state budget:
Last week, the Department of Revenue – Tax Division published a fiscal year 2021 unrestricted revenue forecast of $2.0 billion. Today, the Governor has released his proposed budget for next year, which totals $4.532 billion in unrestricted general fund spending. The huge gap between revenue and expenditures underlines our state’s need for a constitutional amendment to cap spending.
Maintaining this level of spending for another year while revenues continue to wane is irresponsible and unsustainable. The Governor’s proposal relies on drawing down the Constitutional Budget Reserve Fund by nearly three-quarters, leaving just $542 million for future years.
If this budget stands, there will be no funding reserves left to offset the difference between revenue and expenditures. We look to the Legislature and Governor to identify and execute responsible, sustainable reductions to the budget.
If we want to see Alaska flourish, we must allow the private sector to grow by cutting government spending to provide economic stability for job creators. Alaskans—both individuals and families—are expected to keep their spending in line with their incomes; the government must be held to the same standard.
Melodie Wilterdink, Associate Director, Alaska Policy Forum
ASRC drops AFN membership
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) issued the following statement regarding its decision to drop its members of the Alaska Federation of Natives, or AFN.
The Arctic Slope Regional Corporation board of directors has voted unanimously to withdraw the Corporations’ membership from the Alaska Federation of Natives, effective December 31, 2019.
With this decision, ASRC intends to focus on the various needs within Alaska’s North Slope, where there is an increased degree of alignment as well as additional efficiencies related to shared geography and other interests. ASRC had been discussing this decision with in-region delegates and member organizations for more than a year.
ASRC wishes the AFN and its member organizations well in their future endeavors.
No other statement will be made at this time.
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, Utqiagvik, Alaska
Preparing future Bethel homeowners
Free online homebuyer education class from Alaska Housing Finance Corporation.
Prospective homebuyers throughout Alaska with internet access can receive Finally Home! education that promotes understanding of the home purchase process.
Finally Home! is an alternative to HomeChoice™ that was established in 1994 and is a six-hour, in-person class. Both classes are free, offered by Alaska Housing and cover familiar topics such as budgeting, credit, loan types, closing costs, and home maintenance.
Participants who complete HomeChoice™ are asked to provide feedback and often remark, “I wish I would have taken this sooner!” Finally Home! allows buyers to receive education at their convenience, at their own pace, and with the ability to pause and resume later. It is offered in English and Spanish.
“Finally Home! is designed to provide a more convenient learning opportunity for all Alaskans,” said Jan Miyagishima, mortgage director at Alaska Housing. “The flexibility means no more missing family dinners or giving up a Saturday which is when HomeChoice™ is usually offered.”
Nearly 40% of loans in Alaska Housing’s portfolio are first-time buyers. Courses provide tips and insight about homeownership that may be overlooked, especially by first-time buyers such as understanding fees, industry jargon, planning for maintenance and extraordinary expenses, and implementing energy efficiency tools.
Those who complete the course receive a $250 certificate good toward the Alaska Housing mortgage commitment fee. Participants in Finally Home! also receive counseling for the life of their loan that adds some comfort to what may otherwise be a daunting 30-year commitment.
Finally Home! was developed by Idaho Housing and Finance Association but includes Alaska specific content. “We debuted the course in March and it has been well-received. As of November 8, 23 Southwest Alaskans have completed the course,” said Miyagishima.
Alaskans can access Finally Home! at https://www.finallyhomecourse.com/en/product/alaska/
Mary Simton, Thompson & Co. Public Relations, Anchorage, AK