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Series: How Alaska ended up in an endless fiscal crisis

  • Author: Charles Wohlforth
    | Opinion
  • Updated: October 18, 2019
  • Published October 18, 2019

In this four-part series, writer and former ADN opinion columnist Charles Wohlforth delves into the roots of our state’s fiscal predicament, going back to the early 1980s, when Alaska made big decisions that reverberate today.

Alaska’s endless fiscal crisis: How’d we get here? (First of four parts.)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy only entered this drama in the final act. Alaskans wrote the script themselves a long time ago.

The top of the waterfall, 1980: Tracing the roots of Alaska’s fiscal predicament

Second of four parts: How did our unique tax and dividend structure come to be? In 1980, funds began flooding from taxes and royalties on North Slope oil.

How paying the Permanent Fund dividend to every Alaskan became the primary purpose of the Permanent Fund

Third of four parts: In the early 1980s, some Alaska leaders saw the issues we face now.

The Alaska money dam bursts — 1981-82

Last of four parts: Billions of dollars in new revenue, the birth of the PFD, the “Cheechako Tax,” a locked-door legislative coup, a bribery scandal. The shaky foundations of today’s Alaska were set.