Like other major oil producing states, Alaska is struggling to finance its state government while oil revenues are dropping.
About two thirds of the state's funding comes from oil royalties, taxes, and fees.
But concurrent dips in oil prices and production (output is about 1 million b/d, half of the 1988 peak) has left the state with a $1 billion deficit in its $2.3 billion fiscal 2000 budget.
Alaska has no personal income tax or sales tax and a low (8¢/gal) gasoline tax. Legislators have rejected proposals for an income tax and a 17¢ gas tax.
State officials are now thinking the unthinkabl...