The courage and integrity of our legislators will be tested. Last year they failed to step up to the plate. Our courageous governor had the fortitude to do so. The time has come for Alaskans and those who work here to pay for the services received. We cannot cut our state employees to a balanced budget.
A state income tax is most fair and equitable for all. A $1,000 PFD cut to a family of five in a village with a total annual income of $14,000 means a 35 percent cut. To one earning $50,000 it’s 10 percent. To one earning $200,000 it’s only 2.5 percent.
Some of Alaska’s highest incomes are in the oil and mining industry with a sizeable percentage of workers living out of state. They had no income cut by the governor’s action. Yet, they like us, utilize state services: airports, ferries, docks, roads and hospitals.
Our Department of Transportation engineers have families and roots here. Several of their salaries are paid by the federal government. To lose their long-term institutional knowledge, dislodge their families and lessen income from our communities is both short-sighted and unwise.
We have been receiving a “free-ride” long enough. It’s time for all of us to step up to the plate with a state income tax which is a fair and equitable way to raise revenue.
If you agree that we need a personal state income tax, please do the follwing:
1. Flood our legislators by email, hard copy letters, telephone calls or directly talking with them requesting a state income tax now. We do not need special sessions which further deplete state finances.
2. Write letters to editors of the Juneau Empire and other state papers stating the importance of an income tax now.
Special interest groups with their lobbyists will strongly oppose this: oil and mining companies, along with high income earners. Do not let yourself be fooled by lobbyists. The voice of the people is stronger. Your voice and vote determines their legislative future.
A state income tax as a percentage of our federal tax returns is simple and clean. It follows the Bible’s teaching “to whom much is given, much is required.” It’s the most fair and equitable new revenue for Alaska.
Paul D. Beran