Letter: Taxes for services should be shared equally

Taxes for services should be shared equally

As you may have noticed it seems that every day you receive a mail solicitation to accept a new credit card. In these unsolicited mailers, most acknowledge, “you are preapproved,” “… your line of credit is unlimited,” … your minimum monthly payment is less than one-half of one percent of what your balance was three months ago” and on and on it goes. But there’s a need for a new type of card I’m calling the statewide E-911 credit card. It should not be in every Alaskan’s purse or wallet. This card is so innovative in its advantages, provenance and prestige that only some Juneau based politicians might elect not to accept the card’s concept, be it the regular, gold or the “ultimate” platinum card.

You see there are individuals like Rep. Paul Seaton and the Governor who believe that an individual income tax or a head tax (an income tax with a different name) is the solution to resolve the state’s current budget quagmire caused by historical unbridled spending and a series of bad legislative decisions over the past 30 years. Don’t forget the boondoggles explored by the state in the 1970s and early 80s, like dairy farms in the Mat-Su Valley and grain elevators at Seward with no proven harvested agriculture commodities to support a non-existent crop. As a state we could support these questionable spending boondoggles when a barrel of oil was 146 dollars, but when reality set in and we see that the world has more oil and gas than can be consumed, the financial picture is different.

But let me regress and get back to the statewide E-911 card. Your possession of this card, if your application is accepted, would afford you so many advantages. It would give you immediate and elevated response access to all public services like policing assets, medical ambulatory response and of course fire personnel. All you have to do to receive your E-911 card is to pay a state income tax. Those paying the highest percentage of your federal adjusted income (5 percent) would receive an E-911 platinum card; a gold card would only be offered to those paying 3 percent of adjusted income; and of course the lesser and most undesired card the, “regular E-911” card, would only be offered to those individuals paying less than 1 percent. Emergency response services would be based upon the color of your E-911 card.

Of course those individuals paying no state income tax would not be entitled to state and locally provided essential services like state trooper policing, ambulance response with EMTs, on board nor would they be able to drive on public roads without paying a “special toll” to use the roads, access to parks, nor receive forestry firefighting response if a wild land fire threatened their home.

To use the card all you have to do is give the E-911 dispatcher your name and your card number when you call to request E-911 service. That simple act affords you the most advanced public services based upon how much you paid to the state based upon your income.

Now we as a civilized nation understand and possibly accept the concept that all individuals receiving a public service benefit should pay an equally proportionate share to receive those services. The key word here is, of course, “equally.” Stating this, it only seems fair that if the state had a state sales tax like 45 other states do, all residents and visitors would pay for services received based upon how much they consume and not a prorated share of how much they paid the federal government. A state sales tax could also be statutorily adjusted each fiscal year to cover the next fiscal year’s anticipated budget shortfalls.

Just think of the discussion that would have been invoked in the 70s if there was a state sales tax and the Legislature tried to increase the state sales tax by just .005 percent to pay for a grain elevator with no proven grain commodity to ship.

Again, supporting a state income tax to balance the budget ensures you get the opportunity to receive your Statewide E-911 card and preferential services from your local and state government service elements. Supporting a state sales tax ensures all residents, visitors and tourist pay for these services on an equal basis because they consume them on an equal basis.

Jim Harpring

Funny River