Letters to the Editor

Letter: PFD budget wars

Legislative budgets require compromise, and Alaska’s process seems to get stuck on the Permanent Fund dividend battle every year.

In recent years, the inevitable compromise seems to be PFD cuts to pay for essential government services.

This reflects, in my view, a “bootlegger and Baptist” coalition of 1. conservatives who don’t want the wealthy to be taxed, and 2. progressives who think they can secure more government spending if they’re able to divert revenue before it reaches people’s pockets. This is not a positive dynamic for our state.

Discussing the necessity of tax revenue to both government accountability and public investment, Jay Hammond once said: “You people condemn us for living beyond our means. Now how do you correct that? You either reduce your living or you increase your means. You repeal the income tax you’ll do just the opposite. You’ll not only reduce your means, but you’ll cut the major constraint on spending. You’ll sever the connection between the public’s purse and the politicians.”

As a state, there are things worth investing in — education, health, security, roads, parks, etc. But as we figure out what those things are, the public’s purse must be connected to the politicians. PFD cuts move us in the opposite direction, and for that reason I oppose them.

— Jackie Cason


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