Nobody likes paying taxes. Alaskans have been blessed with oil wealth that has allowed us to repeal the income tax we had 40 years ago. (Yes we used to have one). And every resident has benefitted from our low tax policy. The Permanent Fund Dividend has been a meaningful stimulant to local economies all across the state, and especially meaningful to lower income families and children.
The Republican Party has taken a page from the populist playbook and accused Paul Seaton of trying to “steal” everyone’s Permanent Fund Dividend. Nothing could be further from the truth. Paul Seaton recognizes that in order to have government function you need sufficient revenues (with the exception of the Feds).
The legislature has done what is politically possible to cut the budget. Without other revenue sources, it is only a matter of time before the Permanent Fund itself will be in jeopardy.
A modest income tax, based on one’s federal return, would be a cost-effective way to generate additional revenues. Children and retired folks with limited income would not be greatly affected.
In addition, a significant amount of wage money leaves the state in the pockets of relatively highly paid non-residents in the petroleum and other industries. These wages go untaxed in Alaska, leaving behind underfunded local infrastructure used by all of us.
None of us like taxes, yet all of us should realize the local and state services that we need must be paid for. Paul Seaton’s proposal on the income tax is the right position for fiscal responsibility, which in the end is the job of the legislature and benefits all Alaskans.
— Philemon D. Morris, former mayor of Kachemak City