Lower oil price, production outlook impacts revenue forecast

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska lawmakers have nearly $680 million less in expected revenue for the upcoming budget year amid lower oil price and production outlooks, a report released Tuesday suggests.

The state Revenue Department’s spring forecast also revises expectations for the current year, ending June 30. The report says revenue available for general state spending and capital projects for this year is expected to be about $245 million lower than what the department forecast in December.

This comes as the House Finance Committee works on its version of a state budget. Whatever passes the House will go to the Senate for consideration and differences between the two chambers are typically settled in negotiations.

The new report is based on oil prices of $85.25 a barrel for the current year and $73 a barrel for the upcoming fiscal year. It is also based on an average of 485,200 barrels of oil a day for the year ending June 30, and 496,400 barrels a day for the upcoming year.

The department says use of earnings from the state’s oil-wealth fund, the Alaska Permanent Fund, remains a key source of revenue.

Lawmakers in 2018 began using earnings, long used to pay yearly dividends to residents, to also help pay for government. Lawmakers also sought to cap withdrawal amounts based on a percentage of the fund’s market value. The withdrawal amount for the upcoming fiscal year is expected to be about $3.5 billion.