Government

Alaska is one of the 50 states of the United States and participates in the American federal system equally with other states. There are three levels of government: federal, state, and municipal (there is no county level of government). At the federal level, Alaska is represented in the US Congress by two senators and one member of the House of Representatives. There is one federal district court that sits in Juneau, Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Nome. At the state level, the governor and lieutenant governor are the executive officers and are elected for four-year terms. Since statehood in 1959, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents have all held the office of governor. Alaska has a bicameral legislature with 40 members in the House of Representatives serving two-year terms and 20 members of the Senate serving four-year terms. Alaska has a state Supreme Court with a chief justice and four associate justices. There is a three-member court of appeals and four court districts. Alaska's state constitution was adopted in 1956 and has been amended many times since. The state has municipal governments (called boroughs) but no county governments. Alaska state revenues derive from taxation and royalties on state resources. Taxes include property taxes, various business taxes, municipal sales taxes, and petroleum severance taxes; there is no state personal income tax or state sales tax. Residents are subject to all federal taxes including federal personal income tax. The state receives royalties from resources extracted from state lands (especially petroleum resources) and also receives a share of revenues from royalties on federal lands (historically 90% of these royalties). A portion of the state's royalties are deposited into the Alaska Permanent Fund, a state-controlled trust fund established in 1976. The fund invests a share of Alaska's resource revenues and distributes a share of its earnings to Alaskan residents in the form of dividends, while using a portion of the earnings to maintain its real value. Alaska's lands are largely in government hands. About 64% of Alaska is federal land, about 24% belongs to the state, about 12% is private land belonging to Alaska Natives as part of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), and the remaining 1% is in non-Native private hands. This latter figure is tiny compared to other American states.

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