Please read the opinion of Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott in Sunday’s Anchorage paper. He is right on: If we have a serious problem, with only a year to go, then our only option is to look at the principal of the Permanent Fund, which none of us wants. It would go against everything we have all worked for, which is to preserve our future for the next generations.
Do not listen to the nebulous promises of the Republican Senate Majority and the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, and their pie-in-the-sky talk of increasing revenue through business expansion, resource development, and “other” economic opportunities.
My question to Senate President Pete Kelly, et al, and Alaska Chamber of Commerce Director Curtis Thayer, et all, is this: What specific economic opportunities do you have in mind for the coming year, and specifically how much money is that going to generate?
The budget has already been cut to the point that if it is expanded more, then we, the resident/owners of this state are going to continue to lose the benefits that we all enjoy and are entitled to. We need to raise more revenue, and we only have a year to do it. Again, I ask the proponents of more budget cuts, where, specifically, should we cut?
One logical way to help fill the gap is the income tax, but not the last solution proposed by the governor. That was a last gasp effort to try and get anything through, but the flat tax is very regressive, where the low income public will provide most of the income while the higher wage-earners contribute only minimally. Plus, that only generates about $300 million, while the progressive tax as proposed by the House coalition will get us $700 million.
For the record, I am not a politician or beholden to anyone. I am a retired 68-year resident who started as a kid out of high school with one airplane, and built the largest family-owned airline in the state.
As such I just tell it as I see it, and only have to answer to my conscience as to what is best for all of us. We all need to pitch in and have pride in our ownership of this state.