In a media buy that covers television and internet social media, the Alaska Chamber of Commerce today launched a major advertising offense against the proposed income tax.
In the ad, which began showing up today on social media channels like Facebook, small business owner Athena Fulton of Anchorage talks about how an income tax will harm her small business:
Curtis Thayer, president of the Alaska Chamber of Commerce, said a recent statewide poll showed that the majority of Alaskans agree with Ms. Fulton in opposing an income tax. Fully 58 percent oppose an income tax, while 41 percent support one to solve the state’s budget gap.
That 41 percent tracks with the tax-tolerant sympathies of the 4-in-10 Alaska voters who cast a ballot for President Barack Obama in 2012.
In the ad, Ms. Fulton refers to Rep. Les Gara and Rep. Paul Seaton as supporting Obama and his policies that hurt small business owners. The chamber has purchased ad time on GCI cable, Fox, and KTUU.
Rep. Seaton, a Republican from whom the Alaska Republican Party has voted to withdraw all support, introduced a new version of his income tax bill last week; this week he admitted that the new version was wholly provided by Gov. Bill Walker’s Administration.
The Governor’s version introduces a series of “progressive” tax brackets based on income. Also, it disallows important deductions such mortgage interest and charitable contributions. It is not simple. You may need to hire a tax accountant if this bill passes.
“This is a decision that was made based on the testimony we had,” Rep. Seaton said on Monday during House Finance discussion, when asked who had made the decision to design the taxes with income brackets.
“There was a tax consultant that was employed by the Administration to develop an income tax. and it was based on adjusted gross, which is what has been used in many other states.” – Rep. Paul Seaton.
Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, reminded the committee that most Alaskans do not use itemized deductions when they file their federal income taxes, therefore they will not be able to deduct their state tax from what they owe the federal government.
Public testimony on HB 115, the income tax proposal, will be held on Wednesday at 1 pm for Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau.
Then, starting at 5 pm, testimony from other Legislative Information Offices around the state will be taken. A list of LIOs is here.
For those not near a LIO, the call-in number is 907-586-9083. Be prepared to be on hold for some time, and they request that you hang up immediately after you testify to free up the lines.
Testimony is limited to two minutes.
Written testimony can be sent to: [email protected]
Access the meetings live through akleg.gov or 360north.org
More information on HB 115 can be found at the Alaska Legislature’s website. The original version of HB 115 is dramatically different from the current version, which is Version L, with the governor’s new tax plan in place of the previous Seaton plan. Helpful documentation can be found under the Documents tab.