Alaskan State Checks Could Shrink

Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski (R) will consider giving residents a smaller annual paycheck from the state in order to balance the budget.

Every year since 1982 each Alaskan receives a check from the state's $27.5 billion Permanent Fund, a pot of money generated by oil sales. In 2002, the dividend paid each Alaskan $1,540.86, the third highest dividend since the program began, according to state figures.

But Murkowski is planning a conference in February with state leaders and politicians to decide if some of the Permanent Fund should be used to ease the state's budgetary woes.

Murkowski proposed the conference in his state of the state address on Tuesday.

Murkowski has said that he will take the conference recommendations to the legislature and to voters in November.  

The following state of the state speeches are scheduled this week: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington  

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