Need taxes for stability

Posted: Friday, October 11, 2002

Alaska's budget deficit has been out there for years.

It's a consequences of the roller-coaster and cyclical variations of oil tax revenues upon which the state depends, isn't it? A basic approach to resolve the highs and lows in state revenues beyond just cutting spending might be to have a more stable, alternate tax revenue source to balance out the bad times.

Obviously that would be a state income tax.

With a state income tax Alaskans could continue to receive permanent fund checks if that's what they want.

The income tax would collect a share from everyone working in the state, including outsiders and seasonal migrants. People filing a state tax return as Alaska residents might receive 100 percent of their taxes back, as the state can afford.

Another austerity measure includes the $3-a-pack cigarette tax surcharge to prevent bad health.

No one wants taxes, but if they want government and need to pay for it, income taxes are an obvious way to bring revenue. Most other states have income taxes.

I believe the oil-based economy isn't especially advantageous to Alaska's economic diversification efforts, and the reluctance to have an income tax that might discourage new business startups isn't especially valid. How much has Alaska's employment base grown in the last 20 years?

It is good to be concerned about fishing, making bread or writing books when it's possible to do so instead of metasocial financial affairs, yet ordinary people should be concerned because they pay for taxes and services to a certain extent.

Alaska salmon are under fire from rapidly growing genetically engineered pen-raised competitors, and possibly from the same pulp mill and forest management spray chemicals that made it difficult for Atlantic salmon to make the transition to saltwater from fresh cutting down their numbers.

A variegated revenue base with efficiency studies of expenditure patterns may be a way for the nonprofit state government to stay out of a budget-deficit era.

Gary Gibson


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