Thursday, August 31, 2006

More on Alaska

I searched for an Associated Press story I read a few months back on Alaska. Sadly, I couldn't find it. This CNN transcript pretty well sums it up however.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's boom time on the last frontier. Thanks to the trans-Alaska pipeline, the state is awash in oil money. And thanks to you. Why? Those high prices you're paying at the pump. Alaska takes a cut of every barrel of oil that flows out of the state. And with gas prices so high, that's adding up to big bucks, $4 billion this year, so much that the state budget is expected to run a huge $1.4 billion surplus. And get this. Some of the oil money goes into a special fund, now worth $35 billion. They use the interest alone on that to send a check to every person in Alaska, $855 each last year.

With all that money, you might think Alaska wouldn't ask as much of Federal taxpayers, but you'd be wrong. Despite its own huge cash surplus, Alaska gets more per person than any other state in the nation, $12,038 Federal dollars per Alaskan in 2004. So, they profit not only from today's high gas prices, but also from the Federal treasury. In fact, remember those symbols of Washington waste, the bridges to nowhere? Alaska wanted hundreds of millions in Federal money for them, and you'll recall Congress killed them, right? Well, yes, but Congress did give Alaska a lot of money for its highways, and there's little to prevent the state from using that. Keeping them honest, we asked, why a state like this, flush with money, is still cashing in on the Federal fast buck, and we're not the only ones.

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