Dermot Cole

It will be impossible to solve the state fiscal gap simply by cutting spending without “closing numerous schools, university campuses and eliminating life and safety services,” the Rasmuson Foundation warned Monday as it announced plans for a statewide campaign on the urgent need to create a plan to fund state government in the years ahead...

Dermot Cole

FAIRBANKS -- Alaskans who want to solve the fiscal challenge facing the state now have the power to theoretically balance the budget with clicks on a keyboard, even if their wallets or purses may not quite contain the billions of dollars needed to actually accomplish the task...

Dermot Cole
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FAIRBANKS—Gov. Bill Walker and his cabinet plan to spend Monday heading south on the state-owned Alaska Railroad, hoping to use the 12-hour trip to digest the results of a busy weekend focused on ways to get Alaska's fiscal future on track...

Dermot Cole

FAIRBANKS -- For 35 years, former state Sen. Rick Halford said, Alaskans haven’t worried much about how to pay for state government.

But that has to change, he told more than 200 Alaskans who gathered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Friday night at the opening of a three-day event to discuss how Alaska can deal with a new era of reduced revenue brought on by long-term oil production declines and a more drastic drop in oil prices since last fall...

Nathaniel Herz,Dermot Cole

FAIRBANKS -- In 2004, not long after Gov. Frank Murkowski called a “Conference of Alaskans” to make decisions about the Permanent Fund and deal with the Alaska fiscal crisis that everyone believed was at hand, the Legislature found reasons to procrastinate.

Oil prices had climbed to $37 a barrel, creating cause for jubilation.

As had happened several times in the past, the deficit dwindled, along with the energy to enact a sustainable fiscal plan based on an unpopular combination of taxes, Permanent Fund earnings, spending cuts, etc.

“It’s very difficult for us to talk in resolute terms that we have a storm brewing when the sun is shining so brightly,” North Pole Republican Rep. John Coghill told a reporter at the time...

Dermot Cole

FAIRBANKS -- With the flow of dollars from Juneau drying up, the free public watering hole in Fox, a state-funded Fairbanks tradition, may soon be run by a private entity...

Dermot Cole

FAIRBANKS—The University of Alaska Board of Regents plans to consider scaled-down plans for a new power plant this week that would trim about $50 million from the total cost, allowing the project to move forward within a $248 million budget, most of that from borrowed money...

Dermot Cole

FAIRBANKS — It may be a 20-foot-wide trail to begin with, but the far-northern section of the Dalton Highway, ravaged by ice and floodwaters this spring, is expected to be open to 24-hour traffic Friday morning.

The long-term solution is to elevate about 17 miles by adding more than 2 million tons of gravel to the surface, raising the road from 7 to 9 feet in many spots. It would take about 40,000 truckloads of rock to reshape the road above the flood level...

Dermot Cole

For the second year in a row , Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska said it needs rate increases of more than 35 percent in the individual health insurance market, in large part because it had 37 customers in the first quarter this year who had $4.1 million in claims among them.

The company filed for rate increases in mid-May averaging 38.7 percent for plans aimed at complying with the Affordable Care Act requirements. It said that with 8,484 customers in the individual market, it is losing money in that part of its business because of the high medical bills from 1 percent of its customers...

Dermot Cole

The State Assessment Review Board says the trans-Alaska pipeline is worth $9.6 billion for property tax purposes, $7 billion more than the value suggested by BP, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil, the pipeline's major owners.

The five-member review board met during the third week of May in Anchorage to consider appeals from the oil companies and the municipal governments of Valdez, the North Slope and Fairbanks about the pipeline's value. They offered conflicting estimates based on mathematical models about proven reserves, construction costs and other factors...

Dermot Cole

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