Put Funds to Work
Even as much of the country struggles with the housing bust and a weak economy, states that produce oil, gas and other commodities are enjoying a boom and ramping up spending on things from wind farms to education.
While many other states are cutting health care and education, Alaska is spending heavily on nfrastructure, including a proposed $25 million toward expanding the Port of Anchorage and $25 million toward a wind-power project near Anchorage. The state has also set aside $4 billion -- a third of its budget -- in two "rainy-day funds" for leaner times.
Around Fort Worth, Texas, drilling rigs are popping up on college campuses such as the University of Texas at Arlington, feeding royalties to landowners. Wyoming has increased its education budget 42% over the past two years.
Regions that produce energy and other commodities are enjoying higher employment and faster-rising incomes. In North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Texas, personal income, which includes income from wages and investments, grew between 6.4% and 7.4% in the fourth quarter of last year from the year before, before adjusting for inflation. Incomes in the country as a whole grew 5.9%....MORE