Lori Backes, executive director of the All Alaska Alliance, wrote a guest column in the Empire (on March 22) critical of those who have received election contributions from VECO Corp. and of my "patent refusal" to support increased taxes on oil companies. Her words imply that it is suspect and wrong to accept help from those in the oil industry while at the same time rejecting new taxes. Nothing could be further from the truth!
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My disenchantment with taxes is a crucial part of my overall political philosophy, which I have proudly voted for and written about in these pages for more than a decade. Taxes are a major detriment to a healthy economy and should be restricted at all times. This is consistent with our Founding Fathers' notion of a free people living under a limited government.
Pragmatically, taxes flood government coffers, thrilling lawmakers who are hopeful to bring home the bacon for their constituents. I have openly and consistently encouraged the state to keep taxes low so people won't object as much to paying them for financing basic government functions.
During my 12 years in office, I've signed (with bold strokes) the Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising not to be part of any effort to increase taxes on my constituents. I have never voted to increase taxes (barring obscure, easy to misinterpret legislation) and never intend to.
Here's the best part. Ms. Backes is correct that I've opposed increasing taxes on oil companies, but she left out the fact that I've always opposed raising taxes on all Alaska individuals and businesses. I want all Alaskans to be free to run their own lives both personally and financially. And I want individuals and businesses to share in a high standard of living built upon free enterprise. This cannot happen without low tax levels.
I'm proud of my political philosophy. It's built upon freedom and justice, not envy and avarice. To be critical of my anti-tax position is an odd compliment. But I'll take it - once it's understood that I hold this position philosophically for the benefit of all Alaskans.
For this I thank Lori Backes.
Rep. Vic Kohring
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