Danger Stranger


Dave Harbour

Why are government officials in Alaska, Alberta and British Columbia so engaged in efforts to control utility/pipeline projects?  A.  Because that’s where the money is (Ref: W.H.).  Ratepayers, Taxpayers, Citizens beware the elected elite and bureaucracy!


We urge critical thinking Alaskans to be especially alert to utility/pipeline games.  With declining economy, unions and government workers, some utilities and compliant politicians (i.e. and croney capitalist businesses dependent on the foregoing) will naturally want to keep their constituencies WHOLE at the expense of the general population and taxpayers and ratepayers.  The latter groups are often the same, overlapping but not organized to protect themselves from a carefully designed effort to separate them from their money.

In these pages we have warned Alaskans about the moral and financial dangers posed by: a government owned LNG/pipeline scheme controlled by temporarily elected and appointed politicians and bureaucrats, a la Venezuela.  Likewise, a government subsidized/controlled effort to force an uneconomic gas distribution scheme into the permafrost below Fairbanks is an invitation to local corruption that we hope can be minimized if not privatized.

The Governor’s replacement of “independent government agencies” AIDEA and AGDC board members with compliant supporters should be worrisome to citizens and both present and future bondholders involved with those organizations who mistakenly think the agencies are, in fact, “independent”.

And now we urge local readers to vote against — or at least seriously question — a scheme that pretends to offer efficiency to ratepayers but appears to consolidate economic control of Anchorage’s electric utilities for the benefit of unions and the current municipal leaders–at the expense of ratepayers.  Those special interests are looking for a way to squeeze juice out of a withered economic apple by having all electric ratepayers transfer hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and in-kind value to a socialist, municipal leadership desperate to keep government programs and employees whole at the expense of utility ratepayers.  It is a GRAND SHELL GAME against which all Anchorage ratepayers — of all political persuasions — should vote absent a more compelling argument than we have thus far heard.   (For a recent important analysis, review Tuesday’s “Must Read Alaska” editorial.)

In short, when economic challenges rise, threats to the economic freedom of citizens rise in both number and intensity as the government sector rededicates itself to self preservation at the expense of free enterprise.  Keep an eye on the miseries of Venezuela.  Alaska’s socialist leadership appears to be following that beleaguered and formerly prosperous country straight into the hell on earth which is the natural result of socialism.  -dh)



Payback or coincidence? Pipeline tensions between Alberta and BC ramp up

CBC.ca.  As the task force met, Alberta’s Department of Energy issued a statement saying a recent regulatory dispute with B.C. over natural gas pipeline tolls is not connected with the Trans Mountain conflict. In a Feb. 8 letter to the National Energy Board, the department voiced its opposition to the North Montney ….

ALASKANOMICS: What Do We Know to Date about the Alaska Recession and the Fiscal Crunch?

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 11:00 AM PST

In 2017, job losses in Alaska’s ongoing recession spread from the sectors first affected—primarily oil and gas and state government—to the sectors that depend on household spending, including retail trade, accommodation and food services, and leisure and hospitality. Alaska will continue losing jobs in 2018, but at a slower pace— likely in the range of 0.7%. That slower pace isn’t a sign of recovery, but rather an indication that the initial shock of low oil prices has made its way through the economy.

These are among the findings of a new overview of Alaska’s economic and fiscal conditions, by Mouhcine Guettabi, assistant professor of economics at ISER. He also finds that the effects of the recession varied considerably around Alaska in 2016 and 2017, with areas that depend less on oil and gas and state government faring better. But many parts of rural Alaska depend heavily on local government jobs, which held steady through 2017—but face uncertainty going forward, if the state continues to cut aid to local governments.

The state government has yet to enact a plan for dealing with the huge budget deficit caused by low oil prices, and the author also includes a rough estimate of how much this fiscal uncertainty reduces private capital investment in Alaska: somewhere on the order of $200 million to $600 million a year.  The overview also considers the effects of different rates of withdrawal from the Permanent Fund earnings reserve, should the legislature decide to use some of those earnings to pay for government operations.

What Do We Know to Date about the Alaska Recession and the Fiscal Crunch?  By Mouhcine Guettabi, with support from Northrim Bank.