This is a much-delayed note on a "My Turn" commentary which appeared in the Jan. 4, 2004 edition of the Juneau Empire.
The U.S. Post Office sometimes delivers our copy of that fine publication within a few days, however, as often as not, it can be a month late.
Regarding your comments on timber, I have no problem with the timber industry in Southeast Alaska but as a fiscal conservative (Republican at that) I'd find your position more persuasive if the timber industry didn't have to dip into the public pocket (U.S.D.A. subsidies) to make itself viable. I should add, I feel the same way about sugar, corn (ethanol) and a host of others.
I must say I am fascinated by how the people of a state, the majority of whom call themselves Republicans, can without any hesitation continually seek, in one form or another, U.S. Government handouts.
As I recall last spring when the subject of government shortfalls began being discussed, the initial reaction was to "tax anybody but me" (tourism, tourists, out-of-state workers, et. al.).
Here in Washington, D.C. we have a 9.3-percent income tax, 5.75-percent sales tax, $9.60-per-$1,000 property tax (based on an aggressive full-market value) and no donations to help our lifestyle from a permanent fund, so it's hard to develop a great deal of sympathy for Alaskans.
Trying to think constructively, it seems to me you all ought to start seriously thinking about how to put your financial house in order.
Isn't it time you all taxed yourselves enough to provide the goods and services from government you want? Wouldn't it be in your long-term best interest to eschew tapping the permanent fund now and rather let it grow against the day when Sen. Stevens and, to a lesser extent, Rep. Young aren't around, when help from the permanent fund will be sorely needed?
Michael A. McIntosh