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The Alaska Citizen's Guide to the Budget

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Fiscal Policy Council of Alaska

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3. Budget History

3.2 Total State Appropriations

Each year the legislature allocates state dollars to various types of expenditures (operations, capital, and debt service) and also moves state dollars among different governmental funds. It does this through a series of appropriation bills.

Total appropriations have been growing, but after adjusting for inflation and population growth, real per capita appropriations have been relatively constant during the last decade.

Total state appropriations can be analyzed from several angles. First, we look at the history of appropriations by fund—where the money comes from. Next we look at appropriations by category, and finally we look at "gross appropriations from own sources" (excluding federal grants, spending from Permanent Fund earnings, and transfers among state accounts).

APPROPRIATIONS BY FUND

We can divide the grand total of appropriations into 4 parts based on where the money comes from—the general fund, special funds, federal grants, or the Permanent Fund. The first table shows that growth in this grand total of appropriations has been driven by growing federal grants, spending from special funds, and Permanent Fund appropriation (the dividend, inflation proofing, and special deposits). General fund appropriations have not been growing.

Appropriatons are sometimes reported excluding the appropriation out of Permanent Fund earnings. The spending out of Permanent Fund earnings can fluctuate from year to year because of variation in the amount necessary for inflation proofing and because in some years a transfer from the Permanent Fund earnings reserve is included in appropriations. Appropriations net of the Permanent Fund is both smaller and less volatile.

Appropriations as presented here include, within the special funds category, duplicated appropriations. In some presentations these duplicated appropriations, or interagency transfers, are netted out, giving a lower appropriations figure. For example, appropriations reported by Legislative Finance in their 2002 Summary of Appropriations were $5,407 million, net of Permanent Fund appropriations and "duplicated authorizations" and $6,234 million, including "duplicated authorizations." (The difference between the latter number and the figure of $6.278 million in the table is due to differences in the date of reporting, a normal phenomenon since projected appropriations change slightly as the year progresses due to a number of factors.) We do not have the data to net out these duplicated appropriations in earlier years.

Alaska State Appropriations
(million $ )

 
General Fund

Special Funds*

Federal Grants

Permanent Fund
Grand Total
Total Net Permanent Fund
1975 $496 $81 $285 $0 $862 $862
1976 628 80 177 0 885 885
1977 720 14 663 0 1,397 1,397
1978 842 83 233 0 1,158 1,158
1979 1,102 149 506 0 1,758 1,758
1980 1,694 182 315 12 2,203 2,191
1981 4,065 219 632 27 4,944 4,916
1982 5,900 267 273 71 6,512 6,441
1983 2,856 234 450 295 3,836 3,541
1984 3,092 529 582 326 4,529 4,203
1985 3,874 546 254 452 5,126 4,674
1986 2,793 506 609 520 4,428 3,909
1987 2,588 396 666 539 4,189 3,650
1988 2,335 485 539 727 4,087 3,360
1989 3,392 417 552 820 4,182 3,362
1990 2,438 427 574 941 4,381 3,439
1991 2,623 718 683 1,048 5,073 4,025
1992 2,890 700 837 965 5,392 4,427
1993 2,752 683 1,000 894 5,329 4,435
1994 3,201 817 1,085 928 6,031 5,103
1995 2,565 887 1,265 913 5,630 4,717
1996 2,503 1,027 1,114 2,892 7,535 4,643
1997 2,432 1,134 1,134 2,035 6,736 4,700
1998 2,359 1,198 1,199 1,315 6,071 4,756
1999 2,340 1,691 1,512 1,333 6,877 5,544
2000 2,318 1,288 1,849 1,595 7,050 5,454
2001 2,285 1,907 1,954 1,799 7,944 6,145
2002 2,417 1,763 2,098 1,672 7,950 6,278

Source: Legislative Finance, Enacted Historical Appropriations.
Note: includes supplementals.

*Includes duplicated appropriations.

Adjusting for rising prices and population, state appropriations have been more stable. Excluding spending from the Permanent Fund, growing federal transfers and spending from special funds have offset falling general fund appropriations.

Alaska State Appropriations
(real per capita in 2000 $)

 
General Fund
Special Funds*
Federal Transfers
Permanent Fund (a)
Grand Total
Total Net Permanent Fund
1975 $3,413 $557 $1,964 $0 $5,934 $5,934
1976 3,758 480 1,059 0 5,297 5,297
1977 3,964 75 3,649 0 7,688 7,688
1978 4,398 435 1,215 0 6,048 6,048
1979 5,182 701 2,380 0 8,263 8,263
1980 7,120 766 1,326 50 9,262 9,212
1981 15,286 825 2,376 103 18,590 18,487
1982 19,688 892 912 237 21,729 21,492
1983 8,706 714 1,373 900 11,693 10,793
1984 8,621 1,473 1,623 909 12,626 11,717
1985 10,159 1,432 666 1,185 13,442 12,257
1986 7,099 1,287 1,549 1,321 11,257 9,935
1987 6,667 1,020 1,716 1,389 10,793 9,404
1988 6,065 1,260 1,400 1,889 10,614 8,726
1989 5,997 1,046 1,385 2,056 10,484 8,428
1990 5,609 981 1,320 2,166 10,077 7,911
1991 5,605 1,535 1,459 2,240 10,839 8,599
1992 5,790 4,401 1,677 1,933 10,802 8,868
1993 5,264 1,305 1,913 1,711 10,193 8,482
1994 5,955 1,520 2,019 1,726 11,221 9,494
1995 4,631 1,602 2,285 1,648 10,167 8,519
1996 4,375 1,794 1,947 5,055 13,171 8,116
1997 4,159 1,940 1,940 3,481 11,520 8,039
1998 3,900 1,980 1,981 2,174 10,036 7,861
1999 3,786 2,736 2,447 2,157 11,127 8,970
2000 3,648 2,027 2,910 2,511 11,095 8,584
2001 3,477 2,901 2,973 2,737 12,088 9,352
2002 3,560 2,597 3,090 2,463 11,711 9,248

Source: Legislative Finance, Enacted Historical Appropriations.
Note: Includes supplementals.

* Includes duplicated appropriations.
(a) Includes the dividend and inflation proofing.


APPROPRIATIONS BY CATEGORY

Operations and the payment of the Permanent Fund dividend have trended upward over the decade while other appropriations categories have fluctuated up and down, particularly the capital budget and special Permanent Fund additions.

Alaska State Appropriations
(million $)
 
Opera-
tions
Capital
Supple- mentals

Debt/Fund Transfers/ Loans/ Special/ Other

Sub- total
Permanent Fund Dividend
Permanent Fund Additions and Inflation Proofing
Grand Total
1975 $624 $189 $49 $0 $862 $0 $0 $862
1976 720 29 91 44 885 0 0 885
1977 896 458 30 13 1,397 0 0 1,397
1978 1,026 58 53  21 1,158 0 0 1,158
1979 1,165 353 42  197 1,758 0 0 1,758
1980 1,304 192 674 21 2,191 12 0 2,203
1981 1,878 780 126 2,133 4,916 27 0 4,944
1982 2,255 783 42 3,361 6,441 71 0 6,512
1983 2,358 606 0 576 3,541 64 231 3,836
1984 2,728 1,163 18  294 4,203 175 151 4,529
1985 2,539 1,264 2  870 4,674 217 235 5,126
1986 2,661 864 12  372 3,909 303 216 4,428
1987 2,506 750 27  367 3,650 391 148 4,189
1988 2,341 344 92  583 3,360 424 303 4,087
1989 2,575 383 106  297 3,362 460 360 4,182
1990 2,651 344 131 313 3,439 487 454 4,381
1991 2,923 615 185 302 4,025 489 559 5,073
1992 3,261 689 115 363 4,427 488 477 5,392
1993 3,400 720 58 256 4,435 532 362 5,329
1994 3,513 1,201 67 323 5,103 556 372 6,031
1995 3,654 687 94 281 4,717 565 348 5,630
1996 3,819 581 65 179 4,643 643 2,249 7,535
1997 3,836 641 65 158 4,700 747 1,289 6,736
1998 3,878 577 130 172 4,756 893 423 6,071
1999 4,050 1,284 50 160 5,544 1,045 288 6,877
2000 4,034 1,125 121 175 5,454 1,172 423 7,050
2001 4,225 1,566 161 193 6,145 1,113 686 7,944
2002 4,515 1,515 17 232 6,278 975 697 7,950
Source: Legislative Finance, Enacted Historical Appropriations.
Note: Includes supplementals.       

Adjusting for rising prices and population, we see that real per capita spending for operations has been approximately constant through the 1990s, while capital spending and the dividend have been growing.

Alaska State Appropriations
(real per capita 2000 $)

 
Opera-
tions
Capital
Supple-
mentals
Debt/Fund Transfers/ Loans/ Special/ Other
Sub- total
Permanent Fund Dividend
Permanent Fund Additions and Inflation Proofing
Grand Total
1975 $4,294 $1,300 $338 $2 $5,934 $0 $0 $5,934
1976 4,311 174 547 265 5,297 0 0 5,297
1977 4,930 2,523 163 72 7,688 0 0 7,688
1978 5,360 300 276 111 6,048 0 0 6,048
1979 5,476 1,659 199 928 8,263 0 0 8,263
1980 5,483 808 2,835 87 9,212 50 0 9,262
1981 7,063 2,932 472 8,020 18,487 103 0 18,590
1982 7,524 2,612 140 11,216 21,493 237 0 21,730
1983 7,188 1,848 0 1,757 10,793 195 705 11,693
1984 7,605 3,241 51 821 11,717 488 421 12,626
1985 6,658 3,314 5 2,281 12,257 570 615 13,442
1986 6,764 2,196 31 945 9,935 771 550 11,257
1987 6,456 1,931 70 946 9,404 1,007 382 10,793
1988 6,079 893 239 1,515 8,726 1,102 787 10,614
1989 6,455 961 266 745 8,428 1,153 903 10,484
1990 6,098 790 302 721 7,911 1,121 1,044 10,077
1991 6,245 1,314 394 646 8,599 1,046 1,194 10,839
1992 6,532 1,380 229 728 8,868 978 955 10,802
1993 6,503 1,378 112 490 8,482 1,017 693 10,193
1994 6,536 2,234 124 600 9,494 1,034 693 11,221
1995 6,599 1,241 170 508 8,519 1,021 628 10,167
1996 6,675 1,015 114 313 8,116 1,124 3,931 13,171
1997 6,561 1,096 111 271 8,039 1,277 2,204 11,520
1998 6,410 953 214 284 7,861 1,476 699 10,036
1999 6,552 2,078 80 260 8,970 1,691 466 11,127
2000 6,349 1,770 190 275 8,584 1,845 666 11,095
2001 6,429 2,383 246 294 9,352 1,693 1,044 12,088
2002 6,651 2,231 24 342 9,248 1,436 1,027 11,711
Source: Legislative Finance, Enacted Historical Appropriations.
Note: Includes supplementals.

 

GROSS APPROPRIATIONS FROM OWN SOURCES

When thinking about the size of the budget, many people don't include the activities of the Permanent Fund. Furthermore, appropriations from federal grants don't represent a draw on Alaska resources. In addition, some appropriations are not spending at all, but just transfers from one fund to another, including inflation proofing, or special additions to the Permanent Fund. If we net out these categories of appropriations, we come close to a measure of spending financed from Alaskan sources. Since this measure includes some duplicated appropriations, we label it gross appropriations from own sources.

 

Alaska State Appropriations
(million $)

 
Grand Total
Net of Transfers
Net of Transfers and Federal Grants
Gross Appropriations from Own Sources—Net of Transfers, Federal grants, and PF Dividend
1975
$862
$862
$577
$577
1976
885
840
664
664
1977
1,397
1,384
721
721
1978
1,158
1,137
904
904
1979
1,758
1,561
1,054
1,054
1980
2,203
2,182
1,867
1,855
1981
4,944
2,811
2,179
2,152
1982
6,512
3,151
2,878
2,806
1983
3,836
3,029
2,578
2,514
1984
4,529
4,084
3,502
3,327
1985
5,126
4,022
3,768
3,550
1986
4,428
3,840
3,231
2,927
1987
4,189
3,674
3,008
2,617
1988
4,087
3,201
2,662
2,237
1989
4,182
3,524
2,972
2,512
1990
4,381
3,613
3,039
2,552
1991
5,073
4,212
3,529
3,040
1992
5,392
4,552
3,715
3,227
1993
5,329
4,710
3,710
3,179
1994
6,031
5,336
4,251
3,695
1995
5,630
5,001
3,736
3,171
1996
7,535
5,107
3,993
3,351
1997
6,736
5,288
4,154
3,408
1998
6,071
5,477
4,278
3,385
1999
6,877
6,428
4,916
3,871
2000
7,050
6,452
4,603
3,430
2001
7,944
7,065
5,111
3,998
2002
7,950
7,021
4,923
3,948
Source: Legislative Finance, Enacted Historical Appropriations.
Note: Includes supplementals.
Note: Transfers includes some debt service. Duplicated appropriations included. 

After accounting for inflation and population growth, real per capita gross appropriations from own sources has displayed a slight downward trend over the last decade.

Alaska State Appropriations
(real per capita 2000 $)

 
Grand Total
Net of Transfers
Net of Transfers and Federal Grants
Gross Appropriations from Own Sources—Net of Transfers, Federal Grants, and PF Dividend
1975
$5,934
$5,932
$3,968
$3,968
1976
5,297
5,032
3,973
3,973
1977
7,688
7,616
3,967
3,967
1978
6,048
5,937
4,721
4,721
1979
8,263
7,335
4,955
4,955
1980
9,262
9,175
7,849
7,799
1981
18,590
10,570
8,194
8,091
1982
21,730
10,514
9,602
9,365
1983
11,693
9,231
7,858
7,663
1984
12,626
11,385
9,762
9,274
1985
13,442
10,546
9,880
9,310
1986
11,257
9,762
8,212
7,441
1987
10,793
9,465
7,749
6,741
1988
10,614
8,313
6,913
5,811
1989
10,484
8,835
7,450
6,297
1990
10,077
8,311
6,991
5,869
1991
10,839
8,999
7,540
6,494
1992
10,802
9,119
7,441
6,463
1993
10,193
9,009
7,097
6,079
1994
11,221
9,927
7,908
6,875
1995
10,167
9,032
6,747
5,726
1996
13,171
8,927
6,980
5,856
1997
11,520
9,045
7,106
5,828
1998
10,036
9,053
7,072
5,596
1999
11,127
10,401
7,954
6,263
2000
11,095
10,154
7,244
5,399
2001
12,088
10,750
7,777
6,084
2002
11,711
10,343
7,253
5,816
Source: Legislative Finance, Enacted Historical Appropriations.
Note: Includes supplementals.
Note: Transfers includes some debt service. Duplicated appropriations included. 

 

 

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