The Institute of Social & Economic Research

The Alaska Citizen's Guide to the Budget

Financial Assistance
provided by:

Fiscal Policy Council of Alaska

Comparisons
Budget History
General Fund
Appropriations
Operating Spending
Outlays
Jobs
Payroll
Budget Shifting

 

 

3. Budget History

3.1 General Fund

The state pays for most basic public services out of the unrestricted general fund. Appropriations from the unrestricted general fund increased through the early 1990s, but in the last few years they have been trending downward modestly. At the same time other parts of the budget have been expanding. (See Budget Shifting and Operating Spending.)

Operations is the largest part of the general fund and it has experienced the most stable growth. Capital expenditures and loan appropriations grew dramatically during the "petrodollar" boom of the early 1980s but have since fallen and constitute a small share of the total general fund.

 

State Unrestricted General Fund Appropriations
(million $)
Year
Total
Operations
Capital, Loans, Debt Service
1961
$46
$38
$8
1962
$52
$46
$6
1963
$66
$58
$8
1964
$83
$71
$12
1965
$79
$74
$5
1966
$86
$84
$2
1967
$94
$93
$1
1968
$113
$102
$11
1969
$128
$126
$2
1970
$172
$171
$1
1971
$310
$274
$36
1972
$310
$302
$8
1973
$342
$327
$15
1974
$370
$360
$10
1975
$496
$439
$57
1976
$628
$533
$94
1977
$720
$668
$52
1978
$842
$768
$74
1979
$1,103
$881
$222
1980
$1,694
$956
$738
1981
$4,065
$1,493
$2,572
1982
$5,900
$1,793
$4,107
1983
$2,856
$1,929
$927
1984
$3,092
$2,060
$1,033
1985
$3,874
$1,961
$1,913
1986
$2,793
$1,984
$809
1987
$2,588
$1,845
$743
1988
$2,335
$1,654
$681
1989
$2,392
$1,864
$529
1990
$2,438
$1,890
$549
1991
$2,623
$2,038
$585
1992
$2,890
$2,100
$790
1993
$2,752
$2,167
$585
1994
$3,201
$2,232
$969
1995
$2,565
$2,196
$368
1996
$2,503
$2,218
$285
1997
$2,432
$2,207
$225
1998
$2,359
$2,138
$222
1999
$2,340
$2,159
$181
2000
$2,318
$2,144
$174
2001
$2,285
$2,114
$170
2002
-
-
Source: Legislative Finance, Enacted Historical Appropriations, downloaded from website, 2/02.

These figures include supplemental appropriations. They do not reflect the recent phenomenon of moving revenues and spending into separate accounts .

The cost of the same level of public services increases each year with inflation. A two percent rate of price increase on a $2.3 billion budget requires an additional $46 million just to stay even. Adjusting for inflation, the level of general fund expenditures has clearly been falling during the 1990s.

State Unrestricted General Fund Appropriations
(million 2000 $)
Year
Total
Operations
Capital, Loans, Debt Service
1961
$196
$162
$34
1962
$221
$196
$26
1963
$278
$245
$34
1964
$349
$298
$50
1965
$329
$308
$21
1966
$349
$341
$8
1967
$371
$367
$4
1968
$436
$394
$43
1969
$475
$467
$7
1970
$618
$614
$4
1971
$1,088
$962
$126
1972
$1,040
$1,013
$27
1973
$1,122
$1,073
$49
1974
$1,095
$1,065
$30
1975
$1,311
$1,160
$151
1976
$1,540
$1,308
$232
1977
$1,657
$1,537
$120
1978
$1,810
$1,651
$159
1979
$2,144
$1,713
$431
1980
$2,989
$1,687
$1,303
1981
$6,639
$2,439
$4,200
1982
$9,141
$2,779
$6,362
1983
$4,345
$2,934
$1,411
1984
$4,517
$3,009
$1,509
1985
$5,525
$2,796
$2,729
1986
$3,909
$2,777
$1,133
1987
$3,609
$2,574
$1,036
1988
$3,245
$2,299
$946
1989
$3,232
$2,518
$714
1990
$3,103
$2,405
$698
1991
$3,193
$2,481
$712
1992
$3,402
$2,472
$930
1993
$3,142
$2,474
$668
1994
$3,578
$2,495
$1,083
1995
$2,786
$2,386
$400
1996
$2,647
$2,346
$301
1997
$2,534
$2,300
$234
1998
$2,424
$2,196
$228
1999
$2,380
$2,196
$184
2000
$2,318
$2,144
$174
2001
$2,233
$2,067
$167
2002
-
-
-
2003
-
-
-
2004
-
-
-
Source: Legislative Finance, Enacted Historical Appropriations, downloaded from website, 2/02, ISER.

If we adjust general fund spending not only to take account of inflation but also of population growth, we find that it has fallen each year in the last decade (since 1989) and now stands at about the same level as in 1975, when oil from the North Slope first began to flow.

State Unrestricted General Fund Appropriations
Real Per Capita
(2000 $)

Year
Total
Operations
Capital, Loans, Debt Service
1961
$828
$684
$144
1962
$910
$805
$105
1963
$1,113
$978
$135
1964
$1,326
$1,134
$192
1965
$1,242
$1,163
$79
1966
$1,285
$1,255
$30
1967
$1,336
$1,322
$14
1968
$1,631
$1,382
$149
1969
$1,611
$1,586
$25
1970
$2,003
$1,992
$12
1971
$3,404
$3,009
$395
1972
$3,152
$3,071
$81
1973
$3,335
$3,189
$146
1974
$3,145
$3,060
$85
1975
$3,413
$3,020
$393
1976
$3,758
$3,193
$565
1977
$3,964
$3,678
$287
1978
$4,398
$4,011
$387
1979
$5,182
$4,139
$1,043
1980
$7,120
$4,018
$3,103
1981
$15,286
$5,615
$9,671
1982
$19,688
$5,984
$13,703
1983
$8,706
$5,879
$2,826
1984
$8,621
$5,742
$2,879
1985
$10,159
$5,141
$5,017
1986
$7,099
$5,042
$2,057
1987
$6,667
$4,754
$1,913
1988
$6,065
$4,296
$1,768
1989
$5,997
$4,672
$1,325
1990
$5,609
$4,347
$1,262
1991
$5,605
$4,355
$1,250
1992
$5,790
$4,207
$1,583
1993
$5,264
$4,145
$1,119
1994
$5,955
$4,152
$1,803
1995
$4,631
$3,966
$665
1996
$4,375
$3,877
$498
1997
$4,159
$3,775
$384
1998
$3,900
$3,533
$367
1999
$3,786
$3,494
$292
2000
$3,648
$3,374
$273
2001
$3,477
$3,218
$259
2002
-
-
-
2003
-
-
-
2004
-
-
-
Source: Legislative Finance, Enacted Historical Appropriations, downloaded from website, 2/02, ISER.

 

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Page Updated April 18, 2003

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