This letter concerns all of the people of Alaska. It is time to reinstate the state income tax, despite opposition by the governor, the Republican Party, the majority in our state Legislature and others. The No. 1 reason for this is because all of the spending plans I have seen are to balance the state budget are based on using "our permanent fund." I disagree with these plans, because once they start spending our permanent fund, they won't stop until it is all gone.
Our state needs more money for government operations; that is for sure. I think they have cut enough services, which is why I am in favor of reinstating our state income tax. It is the fairest tax for all of the people of our state. If it is good enough for the United States government, it is good enough for our state.
Before we became a state, we didn't have any "oil money." Our territorial income tax paid for our government, schools, etc. Whatever our income tax (federal) was withheld from our paychecks. Ten percent of that amount was also withheld to pay for out territorial government, plus a $10 yearly school tax. If we got a refund from the federal government, we also received a refund from the territorial government.
Our state has lost millions or billions of dollars since the income tax was repealed. How? Every person who came to our state for employment had to pay our state income tax. Now they don't pay a thing. It is time to end this "free ride" for out-of-state workers. This includes every nonresident worker, all construction workers, out-of-state fishermen, cannery workers, fish processors, king crab fishermen, bottom fishermen, purse-seiner, gill netters, diver fisheries workers, educators and people in the tourist industry, like cruise ships, airlines, etc. Everyone, period.
The income tax worked for the territory of Alaska. It will work for the betterment of the state of Alaska also. Only, it has to be reinstated by our state Legislature and probably fine-tuned a bit. It is needed now, despite all opposition. If I remember right, it even helped pay for the cost of becoming the state of Alaska - no more territory of Alaska.
Thank you for reading my letter. I will close it with this thought and these words: "Leave our permanent fund alone. It is the people of Alaska's savings account."
Victor Edenso Jr.