Alaska oil tax could raise as much as marijuana with prolonged $35 price

When Gov. Frank Murkowski stepped before the Legislature in 2003, facing a $500 million shortfall, he announced: “What is our plan for increasing revenue? Well, ladies and gentlemen, in a single word, ‘oil.'”

In time, that single word did lead to higher revenue, but not because of higher oil production. Alaska raised oil taxes just before worldwide conditions produced price increases that no one believed possible.

As Murkowski gave way to successors Sarah Palin and Sean Parnell, the state treasury filled with the billions that are now draining at thousands of dollars an hour with nothing to stem the flow.

With a worldwide oil industry bust that is longer and deeper than any in 45 years, Alaska oil revenues have fallen to levels that no one believed to be within the reasonable realm just a year and a half ago.

How bad is it getting?

If oil prices remain about where they are now for...

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