Lawmakers are back in Juneau with a lot of unfinished business to tackle. The same challenges remain: how to pay for state government. But solving this problem is getting tougher.

The state faces a $2.7 billion dollar budget gap, but its main savings account, the Constitutional Budget Reserve, no longer has enough money in it to cover those costs. So what now?

This week on Frontiers, we look at the legislative lay of the land --to see what’s in store for the next 90 days and beyond. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Crossroads of Change: Why it’s likely the legislature and the governor will do something that’s never done before – fund a major portion of state government with earnings from the Permanent Fund.
  • Analysis from Larry Persily: a former journalist, who has worked for three governors and served in the Obama administration as Alaska’s Federal Pipeline coordinator. Persily looks at the budget tools available this year, including a plan from Governor Bill Walker to institute a payroll tax, which some argue sounds a lot like an income tax. 
  • Remembering George Brown: KTVA’s Lauren Maxwell and photojournalist John Thain take us to the Lucky Wishbone to hear from those who loved and knew George Brown – and what the Anchorage restaurant he started 60 years ago has come to mean to many. A very deliciously Alaskan story, to top off a meat and potatoes program on politics.

If you want a user-friendly primer the budget battles ahead in Juneau this session, we hope this show will help you get oriented.

It’s our money. It’s our future. And it’s our Alaska.

Have we reached a turning point in our state’s history – in which our government will likely be funded mostly by earnings from investments, rather than oil revenues? 

I always enjoy interviewing Larry Persily, who is by nature a cranky man. As a rule of thumb, the crankier Larry is, the better the interview. And he’s pretty cranky right now -- so even if you don’t agree with him, you’ll probably find his perspective of interest.


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