Alaska personal income down

The good news? Personal income in 42 states grew from the past year by an average of 1.8 percent – some did much better – even after adjusting for inflation, a Pew Charitable Trusts report concludes. The bad news? Alaska is not one of them.

Personal income grew in Idaho, Washington, and Utah by 2.9 percent. It fell in Wyoming, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alaska, Vermont, Iowa, and West Virginia, the report says.

The study also concluded personal income growth has recovered unevenly across the nation since the 2007 recession started, with certain states’ person income growing faster than others. There were, for example, 17 states in which personal income grew faster than the nation as a whole since the end of 2007. Personal income in North Dakota has grown 4.2 percent since the recession. In Texas, it grew 2.9 percent, Utah, 2.6 percent, Colorado, 2.3 percent, and California’s has increased 2.2 percent.

Personal income, the report says, includes wages and salaries, Social Security benefits, Medicare, and Medicaid. Also included are employers’ contributions to retirement plans, contributions to health insurance and income from property and rent.

Alaska, where personal income fell 0.4 percent last year, finds itself in a recession triggered by oil prices driven down by a worldwide glut. The oil industry, which shores up about half the state’s economy, is bleeding jobs and state government finds itself chronically about $3 billion in the hole and shows no real desire to reduce the size of its operations.

To help stop the bleeding, the Legislature this year killed oil tax credits for exploration and production and cut the Permanent Fund dividend, but stopped short of approved revenue-generating measures, such as an income tax or other broad-based levy. The body’s two chambers also could not agree on adding the Permanent Fund in some fashion to the revenue picture.

All that prompted two bond rating agencies to downgrade the state’s credit rating. Gov. Bill Walker, Alaska’s Republican-cum-independent-cum-undeclared chief executive, told the Associated Press in a wide-ranging interview recently he is working on such tax.

Gloomy personal income stats and the continuing recession in Alaska may sink his proposal, whatever it may be, before it even leaves the dock – not to mention that next year is an election year.

We wish Walker luck, but if we were to support income taxes and such – and we do not – we would not hold our breath.


One Response to Alaska personal income down

  1. Observer August 9, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    Alaska has much in common with another oil-producing jurisdiction: Venezuela. Both produce a fair amount of oil and both use the earnings from that production to provide handouts to their citizens and support a large social welfare state. Venezuela, with the assistance and urging of Cuba, has largely embraced Communism. I will let others make their own assessment of Alaska’s relationship to Communism.

    In Venezuela, the vast redistribution of the bounty of oil production has crippled the ordinary operation of markets, leaving citizens with shortages of critical wares and even food. The government has responded to the crisis with a heavy hand and the country has moved much closer to totalitarianism to go with the Communism.

    Here in Alaska, the Left and their fellow travelers seek to increase taxes and other extractions from the oil industry to support the large social welfare system.

    I will suggest that the difference between Alaska and Venezuela is only a matter of degree.


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