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The Alaska Citizen's Guide to the Budget

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provided by:

Fiscal Policy Council of Alaska

Comparisons
Comparisons
Outlays—Per Capita
Outlays—Big Items
Outlays—History
Outlays—Rankings
Jobs and Payroll—Per Capita
Jobs and Payroll—Big Items
Jobs and Payroll—History
Jobs and Payroll—Rank
Assets and Debt
Financing Govt.
Compare Wyoming
Why Alaska Spends More
Tax Burden
State Share

 

 

4. Comparison to Other States

4.3 How Has the Differential Been Changing Over Time?

State and Local Outlays.   Because of the concentration of public outlays at the state level in Alaska, it is best to compare combined state and local government expenditures in Alaska with combined outlays in other states. The U.S. Department of Commerce data on total outlays by state and local government shows a positive trend in real per capita state and local government outlays for the nation as a whole. In Alaska there was rapid growth through the early 1980s followed by falling real per capita spending in the 1990s.

A direct comparison of Alaska with the U.S. average shows Alaska total outlays per capita to be way above the national average. In 2000, the most recent year for which information is available, Alaska outlays were about 127 percent above the average for the U.S.--close to the ratio in the late 60s and early 70s.

Alaska / US Avg Ratio of Per Capita State and Local Outlays
Year
Total
Total Net Dividend
Outlays from Own Sources
1965
2.29
2.29
1.41
1966
2.18
2.18
1.56
1967
2.47
2.47
1.58
1968
2.28
2.28
1.68
1969
2.01
2.01
1.63
1970
2.09
2.09
1.83
1971
2.49
2.49
2.16
1972
2.70
2.70
2.44
1973
2.77
2.77
2.55
1974
2.65
2.65
2.45
1975
2.44
2.44
2.21
1976
2.5
2.5
2.27
1977
2.66
2.66
2.54
1978
2.76
2.76
2.67
1979
3.18
3.18
3.27
1980
3.84
3.84
3.92
1981
3.91
3.91
4.06
1982
4.14
3.55
3.67
1983
4.27
4.21
4.48
1984
3.98
3.82
4.06
1985
4.01
3.83
4.15
1986
3.68
3.46
3.73
1987
3.59
3.32
3.50
1988
3.21
2.94
2.88
1989
3.08
2.81
2.86
1990
2.88
2.62
2.66
1991
2.81
2.56
2.59
1992
2.63
2.41
2.49
1993
2.52
2.30
2.33
1994
2.46
2.24
2.30
1995
2.37
2.16
2.18
1996
2.31
2.08
2.07
1997
2.32
2.06
2.03
1998
2.26
1.97
1.92
1999
2.24
1.91
1.84
2000
2.27
1.92
1.86

Source: US Department of Commerce, Governmental Finances.

If we adjust Alaska outlays downward to take account of the higher cost of living (and, consequently, the cost of delivering public services) then Alaska was 90 percent above the national average. Netting out the Permanent Fund dividend Alaska was 60 percent above the national average. This is about the same size as the differential in the 1970s.

A large part of state outlays comes from federal grants. If we net out spending on the Permanent Fund dividend and spending that is financed by federal grants, we get the government outlays that are financed from OWN SOURCES (sources within the state). Alaska is 55 percent above the national average in government spending from own sources. This is much higher than before oil revenues began to flow when the state was more dependent on federal transfers to support public spending.

Alaska / US Avg Ratio of Per Capita State and Local Outlays (COLA Adjusted)

Year
Total
Total Net Dividend
Outlays from Own Sources
1965
1.50
1.50
.92
1966
1.43
1.43
1.02
1967
1.62
1.62
1.04
1968
1.52
1.52
1.12
1969
1.36
1.36
1.10
1970
1.44
1.44
1.26
1971
1.74
1.74
1.52
1972
1.90
1.90
1.72
1973
1.99
1.99
1.83
1974
1.91
1.91
1.77
1975
1.69
1.69
1.52
1976
1.69
1.69
1.54
1977
1.80
1.80
1.72
1978
1.88
1.88
1.82
1979
2.19
2.19
2.25
1980
2.76
2.76
2.81
1981
2.88
2.88
2.98
1982
3.05
2.61
2.71
1983
3.22
3.17
3.37
1984
2.98
2.86
3.05
1985
3.02
2.89
3.13
1986
2.77
2.60
2.80
1987
2.80
2.59
2.73
1988
2.59
2.37
2.32
1989
2.53
2.31
2.35
1990
2.35
2.13
2.16
1991
2.28
2.08
2.10
1992
2.12
1.95
2.01
1993
2.03
1.85
1.87
1994
1.99
1.81
1.86
1995
1.92
1.74
1.76
1996
1.87
1.68
1.68
1997
1.89
1.67
1.65
1998
1.85
1.60
1.56
1999
1.85
1.58
1.51
2000
1.90
1.60
1.55
Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, Governmental Finances, and ISER.

(Note that the Alaska ratio to the US Average using "Outlays from Own Sources" is not quite the same as the ratio based on netting out the "Big Three" in the previous section. "Outlays from Own Sources" excludes all expenditures from federal grant money but includes all expenditures on agency interest. The ratio netting out the "Big Three" excludes the share of expenditures from federal grants and agency interest that is over and above the average for the U.S.)

State Outlays compared to the national average displays the same downward trend.

Alaska / US Avg Ratio of Per Capita State Outlays
Year
Total
Total Net Dividend
Outlays from Own Sources
1965
3.53
3.53
2.04
1966
3.07
3.07
2.08
1967
3.52
3.52
2.08
1968
3.25
3.25
2.39
1969
2.77
2.77
2.26
1970
2.92
2.92
2.69
1971
3.50
3.50
3.22
1972
3.78
3.78
3.68
1973
3.51
3.51
3.37
1974
3.40
3.40
3.28
1975
3.20
3.20
3.02
1976
3.33
3.33
3.22
1977
3.30
3.30
3.32
1978
3.53
3.53
3.65
1979
3.74
3.74
4.13
1980
4.76
4.76
5.25
1981
5.23
5.23
5.98
1982
5.80
4.84
5.49
1983
5.75
5.64
6.59
1984
5.38
5.12
5.99
1985
5.96
5.68
6.84
1986
4.55
4.19
4.92
1987
4.48
4.04
4.59
1988
4.04
3.60
3.68
1989
3.94
3.50
3.80
1990
3.81
3.38
3.68
1991
3.69
3.29
3.58
1992
3.50
3.14
3.57
1993
3.35
2.99
3.35
1994
3.30
2.95
3.39
1995
2.99
2.65
2.94
1996
2.95
2.58
2.81
1997
2.87
2.45
2.65
1998
2.78
2.23
2.28
1999
2.75
2.27
2.53
2000
2.77
2.23
2.33
Source: US Department of Commerce, Governmental Finances.

 

Alaska / US Avg Ratio of Per Capita State Outlays (COLA-adjusted)
Year
Total
Total Net Dividend
Outlays from Own Sources
1965
2.31
2.31
1.34
1966
2.01
2.01
1.36
1967
2.31
2.31
1.36
1968
2.17
2.17
1.59
1969
1.87
1.87
1.53
1970
2.02
2.02
1.86
1971
2.45
2.45
2.26
1972
2.67
2.67
2.60
1973
2.52
2.52
2.42
1974
2.45
2.45
2.36
1975
2.21
2.21
2.09
1976
2.26
2.26
2.18
1977
2.23
2.23
2.25
1978
2.40
2.40
2.48
1979
2.59
2.59
2.85
1980
3.42
3.42
3.77
1981
3.84
3.84
4.39
1982
4.27
3.56
4.04
1983
4.33
4.25
4.96
1984
4.03
3.84
4.49
1985
4.50
4.28
5.16
1986
3.42
3.16
3.70
1987
3.49
3.15
3.57
1988
3.26
2.90
2.97
1989
3.24
2.88
3.12
1990
3.10
2.75
2.99
1991
2.99
2.66
2.90
1992
2.82
2.53
2.88
1993
2.70
2.40
2.69
1994
2.66
2.38
2.73
1995
2.41
2.14
2.37
1996
2.38
2.08
2.27
1997
2.34
2.00
2.16
1998
2.26
1.88
1.99
1999
2.27
1.84
1.88
2000
2.32
1.86
1.95
Sources: US Department of Commerce, Governmental Finances, and ISER.

 

Spending as a Share of Personal Income. Compared to the national average, Alaska has always been high in public spending as a percentage of personal income. Alaska is currently about twice the national average, down from nearly 3 times the national average during the "petrodollar" boom of the 1980s.

Alaska / US Avg Ratio of Per Capita State and Local Outlays as a Share of Personal Income

Year
Total
Total Net Dividend
Outlays from Own Sources
1965
1.93
1.93
1.19
1966
1.87
1.87
1.39
1967
2.08
2.08
1.34
1968
1.97
1.97
1.45
1969
1.63
1.63
1.32
1970
1.63
1.63
1.43
1971
1.94
1.94
1.68
1972
2.13
2.13
1.93
1973
2.20
2.20
1.95
1974
1.85
1.85
1.71
1975
1.43
1.43
1.29
1976
1.42
1.42
1.29
1977
1.61
1.61
1.54
1978
1.84
1.84
1.77
1979
2.20
2.20
2.26
1980
2.60
2.60
2.66
1981
2.66
2.66
2.76
1982
2.65
2.27
2.35
1983
2.78
2.74
2.91
1984
2.80
2.69
2.85
1985
2.87
2.74
2.97
1986
2.83
2.66
2.87
1987
2.97
2.75
2.90
1988
2.76
2.53
2.47
1989
2.61
2.38
2.42
1990
2.44
2.21
2.24
1991
2.31
2.11
2.13
1992
2.24
2.05
2.09
1993
2.17
1.98
2.00
1994
2.18
1.98
2.02
1995
2.12
1.93
1.96
1996
2.14
1.92
1.93
1997
2.18
1.94
1.95
1998
-
-
-
1999
-
-
-
2000
-
-
-
Sources: US Department of Commerce, Governmental Finances, and ISER.

 

Also look at: A Second Opinion

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Page Updated January 6, 2004

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