I'm writing in response to Mr. Dave Flemming letter regarding the environmentalists and how they stop development.
Like many Alaskans, I work, pay taxes and vote. I'm absolutely baffled that the term "representatives of the people" doesn't mean anything in this state. Our government needs revenues to operate; i.e., royalty adjustments, taxes and fees. Revenues generated by taxing timber harvest sales, fish sold, minerals mined, products and services sold. So what's been proposed to address this?
A $1-per-passenger gambling tax and $5-per-passenger head tax on cruise ships. Potential revenue, $23 million. Effective date: maybe never.
An income tax (based upon 5 percent flat income tax) based upon 2002 wage and earnings of $9.7 billion, of which $1.09 billion was earned by nonresidents, would generate $485 million of which $50.45 million would come from nonresidents that don't live here but benefit greatly. Effective date: Who knows, maybe never.
What has happened: Oil and gas tax credit and adjustments to oil and gas royalty. Effective date June 12, 2004. Loss of revenues: millions. We all know they need a break. But its OK, "our" governor and representatives cut the longevity bonus and numerous other programs that directly benefit Alaskans to balance it out.
Don't worry, SB 106 at the request of the governor taxes Alaskans $2.50 for buying new tires and $5 more if we buy studded tires. There is also an increase in business license fee from $50 to a whopping $200. Oh yes, we can't forget the increase in the tobacco tax, since that is the only politically correct tax politicians can agree upon. Last but not least, the gasoline tax increase. Obviously we Alaskans driving in new tires can afford to pay more for our gasoline to drive to work.
So I ask, if outside interests ban timber harvesting and road building, oppose mining, ban the sale of salmon to other countries, just what are Alaskans supposed to do? Should we all shut down Sept. 30 and go to the Caribbean till May? Oh wait, I remember, we'll just take from the permanent fund. All those Alaska elders, families, children and overall hardworking Alaskans don't need a break like the oil and gas industry.
Responsible development of our natural resources and balancing a budget requires Alaska teamwork with fair and equitable conditions. With campaigning promises upon us, it sure would be nice to hear a candidate supporting Alaska growth, jobs, fair and equitable taxation to big and small business as well as nonresidents.