With the state facing a $3.5 billion budget deficit, Alaskans have been debating a complicated series of plans on how to fix the problem. How much state spending needs to be cut? Should we increase taxes or initiate new ones? How does the Alaska Permanent Fund fit into the situation? It's by far the biggest issue the governor and state legislators are dealing with in Juneau this year.
In recent months, Gunnar Knapp, professor of economics at the University of Alaska Anchorage and director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research, has been on a mission to educate Alaskans about the problem and potential solutions. He's given versions of a presentation about the budget crisis and Alaska's looming fiscal cliff to anyone who will listen, and has spoken to groups large and small.
We asked Knapp to make a shorter, somewhat simplified version of his presentation for a video audience.