As an Anchorage-born Alaskan, I’m voting yes on Ballot Measure 1, the oil tax initiative.
Alaska is running out of money. Our savings accounts are almost gone. If we want a Permanent Fund Dividend, decent roads and airports, a solid school system, and a university good enough that our kids don’t go outside for college and never come back, we have to find new revenue.
There are two possibilities: tax ourselves or tax outside oil companies.
The initiative could raise about $1 billion per year and would apply only to three huge, well developed and highly profitable fields on the North Slope. In good times, the oil companies can easily afford the tax increase. (In bad times, the tax doesn’t matter much, because it’s a tax on profits. No profits, no tax.)
And if we raise a billion dollars by taxing ourselves with an income or sales tax? That works out to about $1,370 per Alaskan, per year. For a family of four, that’s nearly $5,500 per year.
So these are our choices: One, endure ever-increasing cuts to the Permanent Fund dividend and to basic state services. Two, tax every member of our families $1,369 per year. Or three, tax the shareholders of huge Outside oil companies.
It’s an easy call, if you ask me.
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