Tuesday, April 15, 2014

#AKbudget| Doing the math ...

Last week I wrote what now has become the second of three columns on the main blog about the current budget debate ("#AKbudget| A postscript to “The FY 2015 end game (and its not looking good) …”).  Shortly after, I received a note outlining some steps the current legislature claims to have taken to reduce spending, and outlining a further defense which subsequently became the subject of the third -- and latest -- in the current budget series ("#AKbudget| Round 3 of “The FY 2015 end game (and its not looking good …).

As I did some research on the issue I sent out a tweet that caught some attention.  The tweet said as simply as it could in 120 characters:
#AKbudget To be clear, this Governor and #akleg are about to own the two biggest budget deficits in AK's history. http://ow.ly/vIP1t
The link at the end of the tweet was to the website for the Office of Management and Budget, a key information source (along with the websites for the legislature's Legislative Finance Division and the Department of Revenue's "Revenue Sources Books and Forecasts"), for state financial information.

Apparently that is not good enough for some, as I have been told some in the Administration (not in OMB, of course, but elsewhere) are now pushing back on the claim.  So, for the "deficit deniers" in the room, here are the budget deficits -- and the source from which the information is taken -- from FY 2000 forward (prior to that Alaska didn't have enough money to even contemplate running a deficit of these magnitudes).  (As a shorthand, the same information generally can be derived from the OMB website, by referring to the "Fiscal Summary" included for each budget year under the tab "Budget Reports".  I have used the alternative sources listed below because, due to timing, they tend to be more precise.)


Sources

Revenue:
FY 2000-2003: DOR Revenue Sources Book Fall 2009, p. 87
FY 2004-2013:  DOR Revenue Sources Book Fall 2013, p. 94
FY 2014-2015:  DOR Revenue Sources Book Spring 2014, p. 3

Spending:
FY 2000-2013:  Leg Finance Fiscal Summaries ("Pre-Transfers Authorization" (or calculated equivalent), taken for prior fiscal year from "Legislature Budget" column)
FY 2014:  Same source as for FY 2000-2013, except "Pre-Transfers Authorization" taken for prior fiscal year from "Governor's Request" column)
FY 2015:  Estimated as described at #AKbudget| The FY 2015 end game (and its not looking good) …