I'm stunned at the lengths Governor Murkowski and the Republican Legislative Caucus will go to make sure state government is funded in the most regressive manner possible. Last year it was $50 million in tax credits for the oil industry and increased "user fees" for the rest of us. This year, going by the governor's State of the State address, it looks like we can expect more of the same.
Governor Murkowski's proposed "Conference of Alaskans," the much-anticipated "process" by which he intends to deal with our fiscal problem, is actually a gutless shift of responsibility for a decision that has already been made. It is designed to provide political cover for the Republican Caucus to do two specific things; use Permanent Fund income that now goes into the dividend pool to fund state government and, most importantly, to protect elite high-income Alaskans from an income tax.
By explicitly eliminating discussion of an income tax by conference delegates, Governor Murkowski has taken off the table what is, according to University of Alaska figures, one of the cheapest ways for middle-income Alaskans to handle the fiscal crisis.