Monthly Archives: January 2008

Aiding States to Stimulate the National Economy

As Congress debates a stimulus to the economy in the wake of the housing bust, many economists are urging federal leaders to make aid to state governments a core part of the package. While direct tax rebates for individuals can help, it will not do much for the economy if states are forced to cut back on critical spending on public works, health care, and education at the same time. As Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who was also chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors in the 1990s, wrote this week in the New York Times:

The federal government should also provide some assistance to states and localities, which are already beginning to feel the pinch, as property values have fallen. Typically, they respond by cutting spending, and this acts as an automatic destabilizer.

What should go into that stimulus package for states? A few key components include spending on repairing our infrastructure, retrofitting buildings for energy savings, and funding SCHIP and Medicaid to cover families facing rising health costs.

See the rest of this article in a recent issue of Stateside Dispatch.

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New Policy to Improve Aviation Safety in Alaska

January 25, 2008, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin today announced details of her administration’s comprehensive aviation safety initiative. This multi-departmental effort includes a bill that will establish a new loan program in the Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development. Under the program, low interest loans will be provided for the purchase and installation of advanced satellite based avionics in aircraft.

Alaska has seven times more licensed pilots than the national average and has the highest aviation accident rate in the nation. One of the leading causes of accidents is bad weather. The avionics and advanced satellite system are aimed directly at preventing that type of accident. Read the rest of this entry

January 22 Panel: Protect the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale

What: Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Beluga Panel Discussion
When: Tuesday, January 22, 7:00–10:00 PM
Where: Hotel Captain Cook (Fore Deck, Lobby Level), Anchorage

This panel discussion will focus on the status of the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Conservation Plan, its research priorities, current research funded for Cook Inlet Belugas (CIB), and the top research priorities identified by stakeholders. The audience will be given an opportunity to speak and ask questions of the panel. The goal is to provide information on current CIB research and to further define the top tier of research priorities needed to aid in the recovery and conservation of the CIB population. Eight individuals representing scientific expertise and stakeholder concerns will comprise the panel. Read the rest of this entry

New Research on Rural Alaska Economy

A new publication from the University of Alaska Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) describes an economy unlike that anyplace else in the United States: the economy of the vast remote region of northern andwestern Alaska. At 395,000 square miles, the remote rural region is large enough to hold Japan, Germany, and Great Britain. Yet only about 60,000 people live there, and most households keep themselves going with a mix of cash, subsistence, sharing, and non-cash trading. That’s a world away from the state’s urban economy, and under standard measures like income the remote rural economy lags far behind. Read the rest of this entry

Alaska Should Join Other States: Call for Moratorium on Home Foreclosures

Massachusetts became the first state to impose a moratorium last year. Without action, in the next two years, as many as 100,000 homes would be subject to foreclosure in New York. Nationwide, home foreclosure filings have increased an incredible 68% over the period of just one year. The rate is predicted to increase even further this year as payments rise on roughly 1 million home loans. Movements are also underway in Michigan, Ohio and Texas to adopt foreclosure moratoriums. The State of Alaska currently has housing which is less affordable than it has been for at least 15 years.  Shouldn’t we be giving serious consideration to joining the other states and calling for a moratorium on home foreclosures?  An excellent article on this subject can be found on the Progressive States Network site.

ldw

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