EDITOR, Daily News:
I would like to comment on Ballot Measure No. 1, the tax bill, as well as the state House 36 race.
Senate Bill 21 has resulted in about $2,000,000,000 in additional state deficit in addition to what the pandemic is costing us. But I am not worried. My kids, grand kids and great grand kids can pay it.
And now we have a young lady who has been in the state for all of three or four years and is running for the state House to cut our waste and mismanagement so we can balance the budget, pay a full dividend and restore a viable, healthy marine highway system. All with no new revenue sources. (All on her website.)
I think I saw some of the same claims during the last gubernatorial campaign. Turns out there was not all that much waste and mismanagement after all. If you bother to check the numbers, we have about 3,000 fewer state employees now than we did just a few short years ago. About 2,500 of those came during the Walker administration.
I was one of the more outspoken folks in the SB21 fight several years ago. When I look at the numbers now, I am convinced we were right. Start with the facts that we own the oil under state land, and we cannot, in fact, control its ultimate price on the market. Then add up all the current numbers, and I believe that you will see, as I do, that we are not just giving the oil away, We are paying them to take it! Dumb!
I think there is a better way to go. Dan Ortiz is a long-time resident of Southeast Alaska, an Independent who has found his way into the majority coalition in every session, is willing and able to work across the aisle, listens to us, likes to work with real numbers and not tired old myths, and has been a big supporter of the ferry system and realistic educational funding. Most important to me is the fact that he is willing to look at new funding ideas, even though, like me, he does not like to pay taxes.
I remember Oral Freeman telling me years ago that if we played our cards right, the Alaska Permanent Fund could end up supporting a significant share of state government and pay each citizen a dividend. I do not know Dan’s position on Measure No. 1, but obviously I am a supporter.
I believe that a realistic production tax, a progressive income tax on those living above the poverty line, and a portion of permanent fund earnings would balance our budget.
I am going to vote for Dan.