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Fact is, we need government and need to pay for it

Posted: Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Mr. Bunde's letter (Feb. 4) in response to Paul Zimmerman (Feb. 2) is disingenuous. His question regarding support for "increasing royalties and severance taxes on those who extract our ... resources" is designed to deflect attention from the real problem that faces Alaskans. Either we approve taxes to pay for services we all benefit from, directly or indirectly, or we will all suffer the slow ravages of illiteracy, poor public health, crumbling infrastructure, and rising crime rates against persons and property. If our state was faced with the threat of enemy invasion, would we all say that we don't need an army because it would require paying taxes, that we'd be better off fighting as individuals? Only the foolish (or greedy) among us would prefer such nonsense.

State government is something we all benefit from - even Sen. Con Bunde can understand that. The Alaska Permanent Fund is a meager fraction of the wealth that has been and continues to be extracted from Alaska's wilderness, a public asset. It was designed to compensate Alaskans for a small measure of the massive profits private corporations have accumulated. The right thing to do is to assess a tax on the profits made from the use of public wealth. That revenue can then be spent running the state of Alaska and paying the likes of Senator Bunde for representing our interests. The Permanent Fund ought to remain as it is: Compensation for what Alaskans have collectively sacrificed for American energy needs, not a piggy bank for cowardly politicians.

Jesse Dizard

Juneau



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