Alaska is an unusual state because of its enormous oil and gas reserves and revenues. Its fiscal policy scores fluctuate wildly depending on the global price of oil. With the end of the 2000s’ commodity boom, corporate income tax collections plummeted in Alaska, and the state buffered the decline with large withdrawals from its enormous rainy-day fund. Because of this, Alaska has by far the highest cash-to-liability ratio of any state. Also worth noting, the Last Frontier has the lowest tax rate in the country for its residents.
Despite its attractive overall fiscal situation, or perhaps because of it, Alaska does poorly on several important regulatory policy indicators. The labor market is far more regulated than one would expect for such a conservative state: no right-to-work law, strict workers’ compensation mandates, and a high minimum wage. Many occupations are licensed in Anchorage and Fairbanks, where about half of the state’s population lives, and even insurance is heavily regulated.