Mike Gordon, an Anchorage candidate for State House, has proposed an interesting idea to help balance the budget in Alaska, which by the way, is still one of the richest states in America. Gordon posted on his Facebook page, “Land in private hands creates an economic platform. Owner development, improvements and Alaskan entrepreneurial spirit will provide the stream of future revenue.”
He supports “an extensive transfer of accessible state land to private ownership.” He goes on to write that it would be “far better for state government to balance it’s books with profit from land sales than with an income or sales tax.”
Then recently, the Seward City News comes out with the first of three articles talking about land ownership in Alaska:
Communities of the Eastern Peninsula are going to be impacted by land decisions that have been generations in the making. Current land ownership in Alaska has been impacted by three major events in history.
(1) The first occurred on October 18, 1867, when Russia sold the Alaska Territory to the United States. From 1867 until 1959 the U.S. government owned the entire territory, or a land area of 375 million acres.
(2) On January 3, 1959 Alaska was granted statehood and 28% of federally owned territory land. The new state government selected approximately 103 million acres under 3 types of grants: Community (400,000), National Forest Community (400,000) and General (102,550,000). In addition, there were territorial grants for schools, universities and mental health trusts lands. All these grants combined gave the state 105 million acres of land.
(3) In 1971 Congress passed the Alaska Natives Claims Settlement Act (ANSCA). This law granted 44 million acres of land to each of the 12 native corporation created under the act. Native land selection was given priority over state selections.