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Moody’s sees negative outlook for Alaska’s credit rating
was written by Andrew Kitchenman, Alaska Public Media & KTOO – Juneau , 2019-07-27 02:12:16
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The outlook for Alaska’s credit rating has worsened from neutral to negative, according to Moody’s Investors Services.
The announcement on Thursday doesn’t change the state’s credit rating, but Moody’s said there’s now increased pressure to downgrade the rating in the next year or two.
Moody’s analyst Edward Hampton said that with the focus on full permanent fund dividends, the goal of balancing the budget has moved to the back burner.
“It sort of created some risks and doubt about other issues,” Hampton said of the PFD. “For example, what is the state’s plan to regain something that looks like structural balance over the long term?”
Hampton emphasized that Moody’s isn’t advocating for any particular dividend level.
If the state’s credit rating were to be downgraded, it would raise the interest rate for the government to borrow money.
Alaska Revenue Commissioner Bruce Tangeman noted that Moody’s used the phrase “political paralysis” twice in a two-page report. He says what they’re doing is a shot across the bow.
“[They’re] just basically saying, ‘You know, it’s time for everybody to do their job and get their work done,’” he said.
Tangeman said he’s disappointed Moody’s mentioned the proposal for full dividends, adding that Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposal follows a formula in state law.
House members cited the report on Friday in arguing for a bill that would limit dividends to $1,600, rather than the full amount under the formula of roughly $3,000.
Even with Dunleavy’s vetoes, state spending on the operating budget and PFDs combined would increase by $363 million this year, if dividends are funded at the full amount.
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Glacier Bay National Park. Glacier Bay is situated in southeast Alaska, approximately 60 air miles west of the state capitol of Juneau. The nearest community is Gustavus, Alaska situated 11 miles away. Glacier Bay National Park at present encompasses more than 3 million acres, and is often recognised as one of the Crown Jewels of the National Park system. The Park offers snow-capped mountain ranges ascending to in excess of 15,000 feet, coastal shorelines with shielded coves, deep fjords, tidewater glaciers, coastal and estuarine waters, and freshwater ponds. Along with stunning vistas, there are abundant wildlife watching possibilities with a wide variety of seabirds, sea and land mammals. Many visitors experience Glacier Bay National Park while on large cruise liners that visit the Park for the day, while others remain within the Park at the Glacier Bay Lodge. Even though there are no roads to Glacier Bay National Park, you will find convenient air connections to Gustavus through Juneau, Skagway and Haines. Ferry service can also be available from Juneau. From Gustavus it is about 10 miles by road to Glacier Bay Lodge & Tours situated from Bartlett cove and is home to the visitor center and departure point for day boat tours to Glacier Bay National Park. Lodging inside Glacier Bay National Park are at the Glacier Bay Lodge. The hotel includes 56 rooms along with dining, activities desk, gift shop, and the Park visitor center is found upstairs. Just about all rooms possess private bath and/or shower and can accommodate up to 4 guests. Glacier Bay Lodge is open mid-May to mid-September each year.