When Alaska became a state, Congress mandated that the new state could not sell its resources in the ground. Whereas other states have the right to transfer land so private citizens can own and develop mineral wealth, Alaska cannot. The intent was for Alaska to retain ownership of resources, like oil and gas, to fund our government. Thus, Alaska became an "owner state."
That time, by the way, was Eisenhower. I haven't tracked the Congressional history of why that was done, but according to the Wiki, petroleum was known to exist prior to statehood was voted. And, of more import if accurate, 75% of recoverable petro has been shipped.
Which brings us to recent news. The phat life is over.
This is the nation's least-taxed state, where oil royalties and energy taxes once paid for 90 percent of state functions. Oil money was so plentiful that residents received annual dividend checks from a state savings fund that could total more than $8,000 for a family of four -- arriving each autumn, as predictable as the first snowfall.
Socialism from an asset not made by any Alaskan. Sweet way to live.
The energy industry's main lobbying group has vowed to fight Mr. Walker's proposal to collect $100 million in new taxes on oil and gas companies, while reducing by $400 million the tax credits they can claim. But at a recent town-hall event in Anchorage on the budget crisis, it was clear that the energy industry has some image problems, even up here.
"Alaska was a great state before oil came to town," Evan Beedle, 54, an unemployed former school bus driver and technician, told state officials at the meeting. "I remember when neighbors were neighbors and doors were unlocked -- now it's just a skirmish for the dollar."
Mr. Beedle continued, "I realize now that we have become dependent on oil."
What would Ayn Rand recommend? Just askin.