Voices

Income taxes are unpopular, but after reading up on our history, I am strongly in favor of one for us today. An income tax is important to our state’s social health and budgetary diversity, it’s a mark of ownership and a declaration of independence from outside influence. I’ve been reading about Ernest Gruening and I’ve noticed some striking similarities between his efforts to enact an income tax and the tax battle today. Allow me to share a few observations from Claus-M. Naske’s book “ Ernest Gruening: Alaska’s Greatest Governor .” When Gruening was appointed governor of the Territory of Alaska in 1939, he believed the most urgent problem we faced was an inadequate revenue system. Alaska’s resources were not being utilized for the benefit of Alaskans; they were being extracted and...Patrick Race
Much attention is being paid to the state's fiscal challenges, as it should be. Although we as community members can play an active role in promoting solutions and communicating with our legislators, the decisions are largely out of our control. There is, however, a major crisis happening in our state that we as individuals can change. I am speaking of our child welfare crisis. There are currently more than 2,800 children in foster care and in the custody of the State of Alaska. There are more than 90 children who are legally free for adoption with no adoption plan in place. We do not know exactly what is causing the drastic increase in these numbers, but we do know that it is not simply the fault of the Office of Children’s Services. This is a community problem and, just like our budget...Donna Walker,Charity Carmody
We parents are often left to wonder if any of the words of wisdom we impart to our children sink in. If there's any evidence that such lessons aren't wasted, it's Anchorage high school student Michael Martinez. The 16-year-old Service High School sophomore just won the Emperor Science Award , a prestigious science research award offered through PBS Learning Media and Stand Up to Cancer . Even when Michael was very young, his mother, Mary Martinez, knew something was different. When other children were scrambling to climb and tumble, Michael would stay to the side, push his glasses into position on his small face, cinch up the shoulder straps of his backpack and go find a spot to read or play with his toys. This disciplined, observant kid seemed to be an old soul. “I provided enrichment, a...Jill Burke
Race reporter should have checked facts more closely I was extremely disappointed to read the article about the Northern Lights 300 titled “Redington too fast for Casillo.” (Jan. 27) I think the author should have done a little research before assuming I struggled with the race. I had no objective to race this year. I had obligations to get 2 rookie mushers to the finish line along with my young team of dogs. I had a completely different team than last year, which Anna raced in the Copper Basin 300, finishing an impressive 13th place this year. I was very pleased with the performance of my very young team and also with the rookie mushers I escorted. I hope the newspaper and the author will correct such an inaccurate account of my race. Also I do not live in Kasilof. I live in Knik, more...Alaska Dispatch News
Once you get over the glory of the title, “Alaska’s Future,” this well-funded organization of Alaska business leaders and politicians looks like it’s calling for a posse to raid the Permanent Fund. Alaska’s Future nominated the Permanent Fund as the third rail of Alaska politics, not the required, stiff income tax its members and many legislators actually dread. The obvious losers, if they succeed, are the great majority of Alaskans earning a small fraction of the income of this leadership. They will find they are much more heavily taxed by a reduced Permanent Fund dividend, the payment that assures that Alaska has the lowest income spread between rich and poor of all the states. Surprisingly, even Paul Jenkins has joined fellow ADN columnist Michael Carey in spotting Alaska’s Future as a...John Havelock
My maternal grandparents were married on the same date that would, years later, become my birthday. Given that I am the grandchild of immigrants with no connection to the families left behind in Italy, any little piece of information like this is another thread tying me to people I never really knew. My grandparents emigrated a little over 100 years ago. They came to America with no money, no English and limited skills. The only things they had were their traditions and the hope that this new life would be better for their children than what they’d left behind. Three generations later their grandchildren include doctors, bankers, lawyers, engineers, teachers, West Point graduates and one philosopher who still has his father confused. Their dream came true. Like so many immigrants before...Elise Patkotak
The dream of the $4.5 billion “sustainable budget, ” based on the notion that oil prices will quadruple from current levels, refuses to die, even among those who should know better. “Our state-funded budget of approximately $5.3 billion needs to be reduced by about $800 million to bring it down to a sustainable figure of $4.5 billion as per the ISER/Goldsmith model,” Sen. Mike Dunleavy said in a posting on Facebook Monday. “If we can agree on reductions this year and next we should be in a fairly good position to have a sustainable budget of $4.5 billion going into the future that could be sustained through the revenues we currently bring in as well as a draw on the earnings reserve account," the Wasilla Republican said. The problem is that the budget is not sustainable at $4.5 billion...Dermot Cole
In December 2005, patient SP was enrolled in Anchorage Project Access. He was one of the many Anchorage residents, at that time, who were low-income and uninsured. For years he neglected his health simply because he couldn’t afford to see a regular doctor; what little care he got was through the hospital emergency room. Spearheaded by Alaska nonprofit Christian Health Associates, a group of physicians led by Doctors KC Kaltenborn and Catherine Schumacher and numerous business professionals organized a volunteer network of health care providers who agreed to donate their skills and resources to assist this vulnerable population. Thus, Anchorage Project Access was founded in 2005 using the Project Access model of the Buncombe County Medical Society in Asheville, North Carolina (but adapted...Charlene Spadafore Vassar
A proposal was recently brought to state lawmakers that has raised a lot of concerns for many Alaskans. The Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program is trying to take over Mt. Edgecumbe High School to turn it into a three-year school with programs highly focused in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Mt. Edgecumbe is a state-run boarding school located in Sitka. ANSEP is undoubtedly an incredible program that offers a lot of support to science and engineering students across the state, including middle school, high school and university students. That said, this proposal still makes my stomach sick. Mt. Edgecumbe High School has been providing teenage students an array of opportunities for years -- opportunities not limited to science and engineering but much more. The...Candace Schaack
Who’s calling now? In 2008, Hillary asked who do we want answering the 3 a.m. phone call. But when Benghazi called, again and again and again, who refused to answer the phone? — John Klapproth Anchorage Let’s build a railroad, Alaska Our governor, this governor, the last governor, the one before that governor — take your pick — has told Big Oil on the Slope: Tell me your best case, all things, what kind of tax structure do you need to get (not mine) gas to sale? Meanwhile, the Big 3 are having a good laugh again at us ’cause we just don’t get it. They don’t want to sell “their” gas (its not ours anymore). They don’t want to build a gas pipeline, because it will cost “billions” that they don’t have to spend or want to spend. The only people who don’t understand this is and has always been...Alaska Dispatch News