Two columns in the July 12 edition of the ADN do a pretty good job of summarizing our current fiscal dilemma. Mark Lackey suggests our budget should be determined by our values, based on a short-term versus a long-term view.
Kenni Linden addresses the issue from a different perspective. She correctly points out that accepting $3,000 dividend checks now may buy a few votes for our penny-pinching governor, but it does little to fund the multitude of public services upon which we all rely and would be loath to exchange for a short-term boost to our pocketbooks. Some might argue that individuals could still fund those public services by donating their PFD checks to government, an idea whose absurdity defies common sense.
Anyone following recent ADN articles can easily conclude the “values” we hold near and dear should align with a long-term approach to resolve our fiscal dilemma. Kelli Linden advocates, “Take my dividend, eliminate outrageous oil tax credits and tax my income.”
I’m with her on giving up my dividend and taxing my income, just like most other states operate. However, oil tax credits are not paid until money is invested for new exploration and development, which creates jobs and income. I’m not smart enough to know just how to balance tax credits versus the revenue/jobs they create for Alaska, so I’ll defer that question to the experts. But I certainly am willing to pay my fair share to live here and receive the benefits from the public services that my taxes fund.
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