Friday, June 28, 2013

Bluegrass, UAA and Fiscal Policy ...

Last week, on the day of Summer Solstice when everyone else, including the man whose show it is, was out -- or on their way to -- their celebration of Alaska summer, I was indoors, guest hosting The Dave Stieren Show on AM 750 KFQD.

I gained a new appreciation for how difficult these things are.  If asked, I would guess my friends would say that it wouldn't be difficult for me to talk for three hours, and that may be true.  But talking for three hours about things that interest others (in the case of talk radio, a lot of others) is altogether different.

So, I spent most of the prior week thinking about who might join me to help keep things interesting, and was honored when my first choices agreed.  One guest joined me each hour, at roughly the 10:00 mark and stayed until roughly the 30:00 mark.  I am appreciative of each for also spending part of their Solstice indoors.

In the event anyone is interested -- and also to serve as a placeholder for me -- I have put links to the podcast of each of the hours below, the guest that joined me and the subject.  You can listen to the hour by clicking on the link, and then once you are at the page clicking on "listen."  I open and close each hour with some comments of my own.

Hour 1:
   Guest:  Jason Hodges, Executive Director, Anchorage Concert Association
   Subject:  The Anchorage Music & Performing Arts scene

Hour 2:
   Guest:  Mark Filipenko, President, UAA Hockey Alumni Association
   Subject:  UAA Athletics, Where Do We Go From Here

Hour 3:
   Guest:  Rep. Mia Costello, Chair, House Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Policy
   Subject:  Alaska Fiscal Policy ("Alaska's budget is unsustainable")

Monday, June 17, 2013

Alaska Politics| Ya gotta chuckle ...

Some have speculated that my recent decision to step away from my law firm is to prepare to run for office.  While that may or may not be a future thought, that wasn't the reason.  As I wrote at the time, the real reason was that I had reached a point in my life financially and otherwise that I can do what I want to do, take the projects I want to take and stop creating issues for others by expressing my opinions.  For those of you who have had similar careers, a side benefit is that I can stop worrying about time sheets!!

The politics of the move appear to have started a little earlier than I had anticipated.  I was forwarded this morning an email that had been sent to at least one person in the Anchorage media.  The note reads as follows (with names removed):
From: Heidi Bohi
Sent: Sat 6/15/2013 11:19 PM
Subject: Story idea.

Next time you have Bradford Keithley on your show, why don't you ask him why he got fired from Perkins Coie?
I spent the next hour laughing.  As the Anchorage Daily News and others have recently reported, candidates are announcing for the coming (2014) election cycle far earlier than in previous years.  I didn't stop to think, however, that also started an open season on attempting to intimidate potential, but currently non-candidates.  Oh well.  For the record, the spin is wrong; in fact, my firm and I parted ways on an exceptionally good basis.  I have already referred potential legal clients to them and they have done the same with potential consulting clients.

And with that, I am going back to writing my next piece for the Alaska Business Monthly on Alaska's current fiscal situation ... and planning my summer music festival tour, something before that always was slowed down by the need to finish those time sheets.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

On a "Special Edition" of The Casey Reynolds Show This Afternoon ...

This evening's Stanley Cup game will preempt today's 5pm report on Channel 2, which is broadcast also on KFQD AM 750.  Casey Reynolds will be stepping in to fill the gap from 5 - 6pm with a "Special Edition" of The Casey Reynolds Show, and I will be sitting down with him.

Another beautiful Alaska summer day out, Stanley Cup hockey on TV -- Casey and I may be talking to ourselves, but I always enjoy that regardless of whether on air or off and am looking forward to it.  Call the show at 522-0750 or 888-909-0750, on the web follow along here, or as I do in the mornings, follow along on your phone or pad with the TuneIn app.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

On Dave Stieren today ...

I will be on the Dave Stieren Show this afternoon at the 4:30 pm slot to discuss Alaska oil, fiscal ... and Dave suggests, maybe a little college athletic ... policy.  BP's announcement yesterday is big stuff, and while some things are resolved, the UAA situation continues to evolve.

Tune in at AM 750 KFQD locally, or on the web here.  Call in locally at 522-0750, or outside of Anchorage dial 1-888-909-0750.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Short Takes| The Alaska Dispatch misses a big part of a story

In an article this week in the Alaska Dispatch, reporter Alex DeMarban writes on a recent decision by the State Assessment Review Board (SARB) increasing the value of TAPS for property tax purposes above the level set by the Department of Revenue.  See "Alaska undervalued oil pipeline by billions, assessment board finds," May 30, 2013.

The story does a thorough job of reporting on the SARB's decision, but does very little in assessing the full impact of the decision on the state.  State property taxes on TAPS are divided among four entities, the state, the North Slope Borough, the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the Municipality of Valdez.  The SARB's decision, if it stands on review, will increase the level of taxes received by all four entities.

But the taxes also will increase the costs of operating TAPS, and as a result, the rates charged for transportation down the pipeline.  This, in turn, will reduce the wellhead value of the oil, reducing the amounts received by the state as royalty and in production taxes.  None of the local entities will share in that loss.

The real story is in that additional effect, because the resulting reduction to the state in royalty and property taxes is not offset by the state's share of increased property taxes.  In other words, the state is a net loser from the decision.  The winners are the two Boroughs and Valdez, at the expense of the state.

Frankly, that may be something to keep in mind going forward when any of the three local entities ask for additional state assistance for this or that program.  In the meantime, however, it is something that the Dispatch should keep in mind when reporting on the issue in order to provide readers with a complete story.