What others say: Alaska not ready to accept an income tax

  • By Ketchikan Daily News editorial
  • Thursday, November 2, 2017 11:02am
  • Opinion

It’s difficult to gain public support for a new tax. However, some elected state officials are using the words: Income tax.

Gov. Bill Walker welcomed the Legislature back into special session this week — for the fourth time this year — to deal with the state’s $2.5 billion budget deficit.

The deficit came about with a significant decline in oil prices — from over $100 to about $50 per barrel.

Oil production had been on the decrease, but the state has increased its oil production expectations for 2017 and oil companies are announcing increases, as well. None of those changes will even begin to eliminate the deficit immediately.

Walker and the Legislature have been struggling to address the deficit. Walker and the House view a new tax as integral to the solution. The Senate has remained steadfast, seeking greater budget cuts.

Whether the two chambers will come to a deficit pact in this latest special session is hopeful thinking.

No elected official wants to impose a new tax.

But before the state began reaping the benefits of oil revenue, it had an income tax.

Most Alaskans worry that if a tax is imposed now it would be eternal.

Alaska has proven that isn’t true. It ended the income tax decades ago when it started receiving oil revenue.

If Alaska did it once, then it could do it again.

The state must ensure it has cut the budget to the point that Alaskans are satisfied Alaska government is the very leanest, and that cuts are indeed cuts and not movement of revenue from one department to another. Then legislators might get away with re-implementing the income tax.

If they do, it should have a sunset date, and it should take a super majority in both legislative chambers to extend it.

But Alaskans aren’t there yet. If they were, the Legislature would have implemented the tax only weeks ago in one of the other special sessions.

It didn’t happen.

— Ketchikan Daily News,

Oct. 28

More in Opinion

An array of stickers awaits voters on Election Day 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: The case for keeping the parties from controlling our elections

Neither party is about to admit that the primary system they control serves the country poorly

Voters fill out their ballots at the Challenger Learning Center in Kenai, Alaska on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Voter tidbit: Important information about voting in the upcoming elections

Mark your calendar now for these upcoming election dates!

Larry Persily (Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: State’s ‘what if’ lawsuit doesn’t much add up

The state’s latest legal endeavor came July 2 in a dubious lawsuit — with a few errors and omissions for poor measure

The entrance to the Homer Electric Association office is seen here in Kenai, Alaska, on May 7, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: Speak up on net metering program

The program allows members to install and use certain types of renewable generation to offset monthly electric usage and sell excess power to HEA

Gov. Mike Dunleavy signs bills for the state’s 2025 fiscal year budget during a private ceremony in Anchorage on Thursday, June 25, 2024. (Official photo from The Office of the Governor)
Alaska’s ‘say yes to everything’ governor is saying ‘no’ to a lot of things

For the governor’s purposes, “everything” can pretty much be defined as all industrial development

Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. board members, staff and advisors meet Oct. 30, 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: The concerns of reasonable Alaskans isn’t ‘noise’

During a legislative hearing on Monday, CEO Deven Mitchell referred to controversy it’s created as “noise.”

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Crime pays a lot better than newspapers

I used to think that publishing a quality paper, full of accurate, informative and entertaining news would produce enough revenue to pay the bills

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo
Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom addresses the crowd during an inaugural celebration for her and Gov. Mike Dunleavy at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall on Jan. 20, 2023.
Opinion: The many truths Dahlstrom will deny

Real conservatives wouldn’t be trashing the rule of law

Gov. Mike Dunleavy discusses his veto of a wide-ranging education bill during a press conference March 16 at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Governor, please pay more attention to Alaskans

Our governor has been a busy guy on big issues.

Priya Helweg is the acting regional director and executive officer for the Region 10 Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
Happy Pride Month

This month is dedicated to acknowledging and uplifting the voices and experiences of the LGBTQI+ community

A roll of “I voted” stickers sit at the Alaska Division of Elections office in Juneau in 2022. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Strengthening democracy: Native vote partners to boost voter registration

GOTNV and VPC are partnering to send over 4,000 voter registration applications this month to addresses and P.O. boxes all over Alaska

Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower after he was found guilty of all counts in his criminal trial in New York on May 30.
Opinion: Trump’s new fixers

Fixers from Alaska and elsewhere step in after guilty verdict