What has the dithering in Legislature cost us?

What has the dithering in Legislature cost us?

The cost of fiscal uncertainty: Investment losses As the state Legislature moves with agonizing slowness toward a major restructuring of state finances and fiscal policy, business leaders have pointed out that the uncertainty creates a hesitation to invest. Some sectors of the economy are relatively stable but the instability of the state’s finances affects them as well. No one has tallied what this might be, however. Now, Mouhcine Guettabi, economist at the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the…

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Are they close to a deal on fiscal gap?

Are they close to a deal on fiscal gap?

There seems to be a deal coming together on SB 26, the bill that sets a percent-of-market-draw,
or POMV, in statue as a rule for using Permanent Fund earnings to support the state budget. This is the remaining big issue of the 2018 session and if an agreement is made in the next couple of days a rush to adjournment could begin. An adjournment push should happen even if the deal does not come together, too. Word has been circulating in…

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Railbelt power grid moves slowly to modern era

Railbelt power grid moves slowly to modern era

A bill is pending in the state House that would put the state’s hammer on the six “railbelt” utilities that have been squabbling for years over uniform reliability standards and how to efficiently move power up and down the regional power transmission grid. Also, independent private power producers complain they are stymied in selling their power to customers through the grid by having to pay tolls all through the system. In some cases these have added up to some sales…

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Timber

Timber

University sets Haines timber sale The University of Alaska is negotiating a sale of about 100 million board feet of timber on university lands in the Haines area with an unidenti ed international buyer. The sale area covers 13,426 acres. It will be the largest timber sale ever in the Haines area. University land officials hope to have the sale concluded by the end of July. *** First Prince William Sound tanner crab Prince William Sound’s winter tanner crab harvest…

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Minerals

Minerals

UCore sets out its mine schedule UCore Rare Earth published its hoped-for project development schedule, calling for nancing and design in 2019, construction in 2020 and a start of production in 2021 with output being ramped up over three years. The company’s mine is on south Prince of Wales Island but the rare earths process plant could be located in Ketchikan. Prices for rare earths are not at the level the company would like, however, but ways are being investigated…

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Fisheries

Fisheries

Halibut harvests cut 10% Alaska’s allowable halibut harvest was cut 10 percent by federal fisheries managers to 17.5 million pounds. There was disagreement between Canadian and U.S. officials at the International Pacific Halibut Commission meeting in January, where quotes are normally announced, and the decisions on the U.S. quotas were left to federal officials, which they announced in March. It was just in time for the March 24 start of the halibut fishing season. In Southeast Alaska halibut limits were…

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Petroleum

Petroleum

ConocoPhillips wraps up exploration ConocoPhillips is wrapping up work on its closely-watched “Putu” exploration well in the Colville River area, testing prospects in oil formations where Armstrong Oil and Gas and Repsol made discoveries. If the Putu results are good ConocoPhillips has an option to expand its lease position, and pay the state $7 million. Meanwhile, Oil Search, which has acquired Armstrong’s stake in acreage, and Repsol, still a partner, plan more drilling next winter. ConocoPhillips and Oil Search/Repsol have…

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Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence

Anchorage home sales prices dip slightly, but market steady Anchorage real estate markets appear to be holding steady despite Alaska’s recession and a slow decline in population. The average Anchorage home sales price through the rst two months of 2018 was $353,764, according to Alaska Multiple Listing Service data. For all of 2017 the average was $365,023 and for 2016 it was $366,080, the MLS data said. While the rst two months of 2018 saw a lower average it’s too…

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Anchorage election results show voters optimistic, upbeat

Anchorage election results show voters optimistic, upbeat

Anchorage’s first mail-in municipal election saw a surprisingly strong return of ballots with 50,506 or 23 percent of registered voters voting. Incumbent Mayor Ethan Berkowitz easily won reelection, which was expected. However, local voters do appear in an upbeat mood in approving all bond issues. These include $50.7 million for local school improvements; $33.9 million for road and storm drainage upgrades; $3.7 million for parks and trails; $2.6 million for re department facility improvements and $1.1 million for police facilities….

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“Scoping” for project’s EIS is underway

“Scoping” for project’s EIS is underway

Army Corps launches Pebble Mine regulatory process The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has kicked off a 30-day “scoping” process for the Pebble project Environmental Impact Statement, with the rst meeting set for April 9 in Naknek. Nine community meetings are planned, concluding in Anchorage April 19. The end of the scoping is set for April 30. Alaska corps officials said they have received no word from Washington, D.C. about an accelerated EIS schedule, which is being done by some…

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