Let Alaskans vote on taxes - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, July 12, 2020
HomeAnchorage Daily PlanetLet Alaskans vote on taxes

Let Alaskans vote on taxes

THE ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET

With what promises to be a barn-burner of a legislative session just on the horizon, a news story recently laid out Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s view of taxes: Surprise! He does not like them.

That has big-government advocates in a tizzy. Without taxes, without taking Alaskans’ Permanent Fund dividends, they wail, how will Alaska deal with its looming $1.5 billion budget deficit? The Legislature last year showed it will run from the notion of cutting government to match revenues like a vampire from the rising sun.

Dunleavy, to his credit, says he will not be proposing or supporting higher taxes in the coming legislative session – but adds he is open to the discussion.

He did, if you will recall, earlier push for a constitutional amendment that would require a vote of Alaskans on any new proposed broad-based taxes.

And why not? Alaska does not even require a supermajority vote in the Legislature to pass a new tax. Why not have Alaska voters decide how much, if anything, they are willing to invest in government? It is, after all, their government. Alaskans, not just legislators, should have final say on broad-based taxes such as income and sales levies.

All of that is anathema to our betters, but we think Dunleavy has the right idea. Alaskans should have final say on how much government they want.

If the more-government folks can make a legitimate case for more money and more government, so be it. If not, Alaskans would get the chance to put the question to rest.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • I agree with Governor Dunleavy about taxes and your suggestion of a vote. When you leave those decision in the hands of those who think that they know more than the rest of us, we get what we have seen: A loss of our PFD at their simple decision to take it, along with a bloated budget that the taxpayers have to pay for, with no vote!

    • I agree that the taxpayers should have the opportunity to vote on new taxes. I also think (since we are so broke) that we also should get a vote to cut back the legislators recompense. Make the job less lucrative and we may get a better quality applicant. It’s supposed to be public SERVICE after all.

  • One only need note what’s happening to Anchorage to witness what the never ending grab for other peoples’ money and liberal/leftist policy will really do to Alaska. The once wonderful city of Anchorage is rapidly becoming another example of that leftist/liberal policy. A nightmare of taxes and leftist/liberal policies, with no end in sight. With Alaskan democrats numbering a little over 10% of Alaskans, how have they taken over our State? I can give you a good reason why. It’s because conservatives have taken for granted that their vote doesn’t count. Or they are too “busy” to vote. That must end or Alaska is toast. If conservatives will allot time to vote in their “busy” schedule, this problem can be cured in short order, next election. If that doesn’t happen, complacency will ruin Alaska. We’re looking at another prime example of leftist liberalism if/when that happens. Just like the rest of the “left” coast of America.
    Under leftist/liberal “leadership”, Alaska is transforming from paradise to purgatory for it’s citizens who aren’t “public” employees. Conservatives can and must stop it.

  • If you read the “Federalist Papers” written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, known as the Father of the Constitution and John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, you will learn that “We The People” are not suppose to pay a Direct Tax. “We The People” created and ratified all lawful Constitutions which created our Government and the Government then created the Corporations. The Creator is always superior to the Created. Corporations never pay one single cent of tax because they just add any tax to the price of their goods and services and then “We The People” pay an indirect tax. Anything else is “Feudalism” which we extinguished with the winning of the Revolutionary War. “We The People” are to be as safe and secure in our homes as a King in his castle. Seymour Marvin Mills Jr sui juris

  • The facists currently infesting the house will need to be gone before any change can happen. The vote is our only recourse. Need to fight fire with fire.

  • Anchorage just announced a state wide tax on “commodities”. They are calling it a “tariff” increase. For those unfamiliar with the term “tariff”, it’s a form of tax on cargo (commodities) that freight companies move across the docks (in Anchorage). 80% of cargo coming to Alaska arrives through the port of Anchorage. Very simple. The shipping companies aren’t going to absorb the extra cost of doing business in Alaska. The wholesale and retail merchants that merchandise the cargo aren’t going to absorb the extra cost of doing business. Who does that leave to pay up? You, the consumer and no one else, with that “tariff” tacked right onto every purchase of commodities (that’s food too) purchased in Alaska that comes over the Anchorage docks. The resulting escalation in the cost of doing business via the port of Anchorage will affect Alaskans state wide, very similar to a state sales tax, enacted by Anchorage, for Anchorage, with no exemptions. Rest assured there will be no benefit to the “tariff” increase except to Anchorage money grabbers. The port of Anchorage is a distribution hub for most of the state, via rail and road. Raising the cost of shipping “commodities” through Anchorage will be a new burden on citizens needing those commodities, across the state. The tariff hike is supposed to pay for new terminals at the port of Anchorage, while the existing infrastructure of the port of Anchorage continues to fall apart due to no maintenance or repairs. Like the tobacco and alcohol taxes. Used for everything but the espoused purposes, and with no ‘sunset clause’ provided. When this new scheme is firmly entrenched (or before), another money grabbing scheme will pop up. Mark my words.

  • “Let the people vote on taxes!”

    It has a nice populist ring to it except for one very important thing – direct democracy in America is largely limited to voting for representatives and leaders for our REPUBLIC form of government.

    In a republic our elected representatives make the decisions on such things as taxes and other “revenue” raising schemes. They may listen to the demands made by special interest groups and other squeaky wheels but, in our system of government, the voters don’t directly decide tax policy because that’s not how it was set up in our Constitution.

    The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution to avoid trading a single tyrant (the king) for a “tyranny of the masses” otherwise known as pure democracy.

    When 50.1% of the electorate can vote you out of your earnings or property you are not free.

    Also, when the Constitution was written and agreed to by the people there were no provisions for taxing our income or our purchases or any of the other plethora of taxes we now suffer under.

    It wasn’t until much later that “the masses” decided to agree to an amendment allowing the government to take whatever portion of your earnings it desired, by force if necessary. Of course they were sold that based on the lie that the tax was minimal and only applied to “rich” people. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

    The people should NOT be voting on taxes because, no matter how it goes, that is an example of the majority ruling over the minority…a true tyranny of the masses…and that was not the deal we agreed to when Americans ratified the U.S. Constitution.

    And our representatives should not be piling new taxes, or any taxes, on us either because that also wasn’t part of the deal, the social contract, the Constitution.

    Of course no one seems to care much about the Constitution these days except as something they can “interpret” to their advantage.

  • Majority Rule of 50.1% is Tyranny. We were founded on Individual Rights and Liberties called a Constitutional Republic. Seymour Marvin Mills Jr. sui juris

  • The short answer is that legislators, and the special interests that own them, loathe the public. Not only would a vote on taxes not go their way, they don’t think we deserve to be able to vote on issues of any weight.

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