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EDITOR, Daily News:
Budgeting is a matter of balancing revenue and expense. A shortfall of revenue to cover family expenses requires rethinking the budget. Luxuries, like entertainment and vacation travel can be cut back or eliminated. But minimal living expenses like food, clothing and housing need to be paid, and if revenues won't stretch to cover them, additional revenues such as a second or better paying job or longer hours need to be considered.
The same holds for Alaska. In the last few years of low oil revenues the state has cut back severely on many programs and now we are out of those options. The state still has certain minimal and critical operating expenses that cannot be eliminated without harming regional economies and industries and people who absolutely need them. Only the most radical conservatives are resistant to the inevitable need for a new revenue source. Gov. Dunleavy deliberately ignores the revenue side of any budget balancing efforts.
Every state in the union except Alaska has either a statewide income or a statewide sales tax. Many have both and some have a statewide property tax as well. Even New Hampshire taxes dividend and interest income. All those other states’ taxes are not inspired by a love for taxation, but by obvious necessity, and we are now back at that point as well.
It is high time for our political leaders to recognize that an income tax is not an affront to human dignity but a need for everyone to contribute a fair share for the services the state must provide. The Legislature should get to work this session to make this happen so that we again have a broad based revenue source that is not dependent on oil companies alone.