The State budget crisis, says David Teal, the director of State legislative finance, is like being in a canoe heading toward a fiscal cliff and hearing the roar. Members in the canoe are fighting over what paddles to use—increased revenues & taxes, budget cuts, the permanent fund earnings reserve—and the Alaska crowd on shore is yelling not to use the paddles but doesn't know that ropes are tied around their own ankles, tightening. Teal's presentation was among three other talks on demographics in Palmer today including state economist Neal Fried on Mat-Su's still optimistic growth, State demographer Eddie Hunsinger on population and Mat-Su School District's Assistant Superintendent Luke Fulp on our still growing schools.
Listen to the complete audio here and look through the economists' presentation. The Mat-Su Borough School District held the event at the school administration chambers off Gulkana Ave.
An audio link to the entire Mat-Su Demographics meeting is here, provided by Radio Free Palmer.
Among the highlight's of Fried's overview on Mat-Su:
• job growth in Mat-Su is up 500 jobs in the first part of 2016, and the second quarter is still expected to be an increase despite the big job losses elsewhere
• the average sales price of a house is $269,882
• In 2015, the Mat-Su built more than a third of all new housing in the State
• In 2016 the school district population grew by 4 percent while Anchorage grew 1 percent and Juneau and Fairbanks shrank
• no increases in foreclosures yet, no spikes on home sales
• In 2014, some 9 percent of Mat-Su workers work on the North Slope, and the numbers are expected to go down