With the legislative session looming and with Democratic lawmakers in the state Legislature, along with Republican fellow travelers, pushing collaboration and cooperation on taxes, it is enough to make you want to hide your wallet.
The big enchilada, make no mistake, is an income tax. The House majority, Senate Democrats and a stray Republican senator or two, are simply dying for an income tax to reach directly into your paycheck.
The House Democrat-led coalition a few years ago offered one, but it went nowhere. It is not about to give up, and if its members can reduce the size of your Permanent Fund dividend along the way, well, that is just gravy.
There is talk of a state sales tax, an education head tax and an increase in the motor fuel tax, but the brass ring is, and always has been, an income tax that can be raised whenever the state needs to shake you down for more to spend.
Taxes are what happens when lawmakers refuse to cut spending and this bunch has shown spending cuts of any size are anathema. Taxes are just easier.
Alaska is one of seven states without an income tax, and joins Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon in being one of five without a sales tax. Those on the Left through the years have said repealing the Alaska income tax in 1980 was a huge legislative mistake. They have wanted it back ever since.
Imposed in 1949, 10 years before statehood, the income tax did what income taxes do – it grew. The levy started at 10 percent of a taxpayer’s federal income tax liability. By 1975, it was changed to a progressive tax, with a top rate of 14.5 percent.
The thing about taxes – income, sales, whatever – is they rarely go away, always increase and proliferate like rabbits.
One need only look to places such as Illinois, California or Connecticut for the effects of such growth. Loss of jobs. Economies on the brink. Government in debt.
Taxes, especially income and sales taxes, only allow lawmakers to dodge hard choices. As long as taxpayers have money, they have no problem allowing government to grow – and you can bet it will.