New Website Helps Public Decode Alaska Budget
FAIRBANKS — The Legislature this week released a new website, titled “Understanding Alaska’s Budget” at alaskabudget.com, that comes complete with slick graphics and animated videos explaining the state’s income, spending, savings and the possibility of a spending gap.
The website was brought about by the House Special Committee on Fiscal Policy, a Republican-led group of Republicans and Democrats, and was put together by Information Insights assisted by the firm Agnew::Beck.
The site contains easy-to-read and easy-to-understand information about often-confusing elements of state spending, such as the annual state budget and the Alaska Permanent Fund.
Chairwoman Rep. Anna Fairclough, R-Eagle River, said she was pleased with the outcome and said, “I hope people bookmark it.”
As well as primers on state revenue, spending and various savings accounts, many of the pieces tend to lead into a reminder that the state could be headed toward a budget cap — possibly by 2015 as forecast by state agencies.
The site doesn’t take sides on the issue — for example, say, Governor Sean Parnell’s “meaningful” oil tax reform could be the right way forward — but many of its articles and videos suggest something needs to be done to bridge future budget gaps.
A whiteboard video on spending sums up the state budget: “We can adopt a fiscal policy based on luck, waiting for another major discovery on state lands or a new technology to buy us more time. Or we can work together to come up with meaningful solutions that will keep Alaska strong and prosperous — no matter what our future holds.”