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Alaska Oil Bust Threatens Life of Few Taxes and Dividend Checks

  • State faces $3 billion shortfall in $4.3 billion budget
  • Income, sales taxes and cuts to dividends to residents mulled
Trans Alaska Pipeline System in Alaska.
Photographer: Tatlow/laif/Redux

The oil-industry rout is spurring Alaska to reconsider perks long enjoyed by its 741,894 residents: No income taxes, plus annual dividend checks drawn from the state’s investment earnings.

No state relies as heavily on petroleum production as Alaska, and with the price of oil hovering at around $54 a barrel -- about half the peak in 2014 -- the government is contending with similar fiscal pressures seen in nations such as Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Russia.