Letter to the Editor

Bring back the income tax

To the editor: Regarding the excellent article by Rep. Sara Hannan in the Jan. 20 Daily News-Miner, she was right on all fronts. I have been advocating reinstating the income tax for years. Jay Hammond said many times that his biggest regret while he was governor was in allowing the tax to be suspended.

The tax bill passed by the House in 2017 was very fair and progressive: It exempted the PFD, provided a $4,000 exemption for every man, woman and child to start, then had a graduated increase so that the lower wage earners paid the least and most of the money came from the highest earners.

Then there is the huge amount of money that goes right out of state: the commercial fishermen in the summer and oilfield workers in the winter. Those nonresidents are utilizing our state services but paying nothing in support.

Regarding the ferries, they are a part of our state-funded surface transportation system. Yes, they cost more to operate per person than highways but are the only means where there are no roads, and the state has a responsibility to provide equitable services to all of its citizens. So to privatize or make the ferry system self-sustaining, then maybe we should also institute a toll system for the Glenn, Parks and Seward highways.

Bottom line, everyone I talk to has no problem in helping to fund the government services we all want and need. You cannot compare our costs per capita with the other states. Alaska is unique; that is why we all love it.

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