Cue the violins

Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2003

It was wonderful to see the Alaska Municipal League's and the Alaska Conference of Mayor's recent expression of support for a state income tax. I hope they will lobby hard and successfully for this fiscally responsible and fair proposal.

The great majority of taxes in the U.S. are paid by middle income and poor working people. And Frank Murkowski certainly has had no problem proposing taxes that would hit working people hardest. But propose a tax that would ask the wealthy to pay their fair share and the Republicans get weepy-eyed that - as Murkowski's spokesman put it - the rich then might not be able to be rich enough (cue the violins). And asking the rich to contribute to our society by paying their fair share of taxes is "class warfare."

Instead of asking the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes the Republicans would rather cut "waste" from government spending. In the past few months the Republican Legislature has deeply cut, or Murkowski has vetoed, spending for schools, law enforcement, fire protection, supports for the disabled and children living in poverty, ambulance services, water, sewers and solid waste treatment. These important and necessary functions of government are the "waste" they would cut rather than have their rich cronies (and themselves) pay taxes.

However, Alaska's Republicans did manage to find a hundred million dollars of public money to lavish on their campaign contributors in the oil industry - corporate welfare of the sort that has never created a single job that would not have been created without it.

I'm glad these two organizations are working to represent the interests of our cities and towns - and the necessary and important services they deliver - and those of working Alaskans.

Donald R. Douglas


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