SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

State Budget

By Chris J. Herby

February 20, 2019
Wednesday PM

I, just like everyone else in our area, was quite set back and rather mad when I read the details of our new governor's proposed budget. Then I realized that this can't really be a serious budget proposal and instead is merely his way of getting our attention and telling us that we do in fact have a serious financial problem facing our state. I think most of us have been aware of that for quite some time now.

We certainly cannot stand for his proposed cuts to education and the marine highway system. I think the reason that our elected officials in Juneau have not been able to deal with this serious budget problem for the past several years is because there are so many different opinions as to the best way to deal with it. Unfortunately, ignoring it will not make the problem go away.

I believe what is required is a multi angle approach. I think there are certainly budget cuts that can be made without going to the absurd extremes outlined in the governor's proposal. But, I don't believe cuts alone can fix the problem. At least not while still maintaining a reasonable quality of life such as education for our children and having a transportation system.

I believe the following 3 things are needed: 1. Utilize a portion of the permanent fund earnings without jeopardizing our dividends. 2. Restructure the oil tax system to reflect the current lower oil prices while increasing our state's share of oil revenue. 3. Implement a state sales tax of 2% and ensure that ALL internet purchases are taxed at that rate.

Representative Ortiz has stated that he preferred an income tax over a sales tax. That is seriously flawed thinking. An income tax will only tax the roughly 30% of the population who work. Our budget problem is everybody's problem, not just the people who work. Additionally, an income tax would have a serious negative impact on our already ailing economy. I am not a fan of more taxes. However, I am also not a fan of losing our ferry system or undermining our education system. At least a sales tax would bring in additional revenue from the large number of visitors as well as the out of state workers.

A sales tax is the fairest tax because the higher income earners would pay more because they spend more and likewise the lower income earners would pay less because they spend less. Every person in the state utilizes state services to some degree. Therefore the budget problem is everyone's, not just the workers.


Chris J. Herby
Ketchikan, Alaska


About: A 37 year Ketchikan resident and a 33 year business owner and employer.



Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.


Received February 20, 2019 - Published February 20, 2019

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