Alaskans Getting the Government We Paid For

Legislators Say Buck Stops With ... Assemblies and Councils


Coarse Grind – Satire and Humor

The Alaska State Legislature is not getting into the taxing business unless it’s absolutely necessary, said Sen. Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks). The statement, among other things, prompted an oil lobbyist to say, “Hey, if you’re not in the tax business, can we get all that money back? Times are tough, man.” But Kelly was talking about taxing regular Alaskans, and/or using part of their Permanent Fund Dividends money to pay for things like schools, roads, troopers, fire suppression and such. Many Republicans and Democrats in both legislative houses seem to agree. The Democrats don’t want taxes until the oil companies are pulling their weight, and don’t really want to us the PF earnings unless they can blame it on someone else. The Republicans don’t want taxes or PF earnings usage until they’ve slashed government spending back to pre-Colombian levels and until they’ve figured out a way to blame Democrats for all of it. Governor Walker is willing to take the blame, but he’s still so popular nobody in the Legislature cares.

So, in a brilliant stroke, some members of the Senate Finance Committee figured out how to fix at least part of Alaska’s fiscal problem without getting into the tax business. They’re going to force municipalities and communities into the tax business instead! Two bills sponsored by the Senate Finance Committee will shift the burden of the Public Employees Retirement System and the Teachers Retirement System (PERS and TRS), to municipalities, but don’t worry, these bright backroom boys have a third bill that will make some of Alaska’s school kids pay part of the bill for the first few years – that’s right, they’re killing the Alaska Performance Scholarship program and an education grant program to help municipalities ease into the new paradigm. Hey, if these money-grubbing performance scholarship kids are so bright, surely they can figure out their own scholarship program.

Those living in unincorporated places or in communities where there’s no real tax base don’t have to worry at all. No taxes for you! No revenue either, but hey, you can’t expect elected official to figure out everything. They’re just “citizen” legislators, anyway – not REAL ones. Lighten up, already.

So, fear not, Alaskans, the Legislature is doing everything it can to make sure you pay higher property and sales taxes instead of income taxes and perhaps a reduced PFD. But local government is the best kind, right? That’s why they’re gutting municipal revenue sharing, too, so you’ll have even more opportunities to pay for government through increased local taxes. That way, when you get angry you can vote out the assembly bums instead of the legislative bums. Can you think of a better use for your PFD (that will run out in four years)? I sure can’t. So there you have it. We Alaskans have paid no state taxes for decades. Finally, we’re getting the government we paid for.