Letters to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Reader wonders what happened to all that early oil money

In 1969 I was a student at West High school in Anchorage. At that time, the North Slope oil lease sale was announced over the intercoms, and when the final figure of $900,000 was announced, everybody was ecstatic, because at that time just the interest from this amount of money was more than the state budget, and Alaska would never see another poor day.

Then, before the oil started flowing through the pipeline in 1977, Alaska was broke and nobody seemed to know where the $900,000 went, but it was all gone. Then the big money started to flow, and also the big spending.

This is my question: just how much money has the state taken in since 1969? I have never seen this number published. I have seen the number $20 billion a year during the best years.

Even if the average was $10 billion a year, we are looking at a total of approximately $240 billion. If anybody knows the correct figure please contact me, I would love to know.

Then we can see if the state's money woes are from a lack of money or a lack of accountability.

Tom Hunt


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