Commonwealth North Launches an Interactive Budget-Balancing Tool
Commonwealth North, Alaska’s non-partisan public policy forum, recently launched an innovative new website to assist Alaskans in better understanding the State of Alaska’s fiscal challenge. The website, www.akbudget.com, offers Alaskans the opportunity to make their own revenue and spending choices to address the projected $1.3 billion shortfall in the state’s fiscal year 2022 budget.
The website updates in real-time. For example, when a hypothetical user chooses to implement a new tax, the site shows how how much revenue would be raised and how large a gap remains. The numbers change as the user makes different budget choices, including spending cuts, implementing new or increasing existing taxes, and other options. Basic descriptions are provided for each choice. The site is meant to give Alaskans a holistic look at what balancing the budget looks like, and what challenges the legislature and administration face in 2021. This is not just another basic budget website- it empowers Alaskans to make their own decisions and see what impact their choices have on the overall budget gap.
The website was developed by CWN’s Fiscal Policy Study Group. Since last May, the bi-partisan group has been working to develop the most likely options for balancing the state’s budget.
CWN plans to provide the results as input to the Legislature and Administration.
In This Issue
Diving into Alaska Aquaculture
Aquaculture is an industry Alaskans are probably familiar with, even if they’re unfamiliar with the term itself. Broadly, aquaculture refers to the cultivation of numerous species of fish and aquatic plants, such as shellfish, algae, and finfish, as well as enhancement and restoration projects designed to increase wild populations of specific species, says Heather McCarty, vice-chair of the Alaska Mariculture Task Force.