Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Melting Revenues Alaska Must Quickly Address the Loss of Oil Money

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Melting Revenues Alaska Must Quickly Address the Loss of Oil Money

Article excerpt

Pennsylvanians who have had enough of the budget chaos in Harrisburg might take some solace from their fellow Americans in Alaska.

For decades, the nation's largest state has been the envy of taxpayers everywhere. Flush with cash from oil production, Alaska does not levy a personal income tax or a sales tax. Alaskans also receive annual payouts from a fund generated by oil royalties and energy taxes. Those payments were several hundred dollars per person in the 1980s, growing to more than $2,000 last year.

But crude oil prices are now at a seven-year low, and the industry is no longer delivering the revenue it did. Now Alaska faces the same political reality as other states - how to get taxpayers to cover the cost of services. Right now, Alaska has a budget deficit that is $3. …

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