SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



By Tyrell Rettke


August 31, 2006

I think a few things should be put into perspective in this case.

You say that Admission to California is still "free". This is a wee bit misleading. Admission to Alaska is free as well. The only extra tax you will pay (the New head tax recently passed) is if you are entering the state via a cruise ship.

The cruise industry requires (due to the length and capacity of the ships) accommodations far exceeding what we as a state would normally have or use. The 50 extra dollars in no way is given to the community, just for "breathing" or otherwise. It is used to keep up the multi million dollar a year infrastructure that we have no other use for than to accommodate these massive ships bringing in such happy and loving individuals as yourself.

I should also point out, since you're from California, one of the states that seems most bent on protecting the natural wonder and beauty of other states, that 4 dollars of this tax is used to put a person on each ship that monitors the discharge procedures of the ships to make sure they are not polluting our pristine waters with too much of the unmentionables of the million-ish annual visitors we have through our state.

Now to sling back some mud.

The figure that Alaska receives 2 dollars for ever 1 dollar we send in is looking, as most people who use statistics, at only part of the picture.

California was inducted into the union of the United States in 1850, more than 100 years before Alaska. This means that Alaska has had less than 50 years to industrialize, and build infrastructure, to California's nearly 150 years. I do not see this figure being all that odd. In fact it makes pretty good sense. The country wants oil, fish, timber, and mineral resources... well, guess what?! We kind of need roads to get it out you know...

Just a fun little fact to add to that little 2:1 figure/argument.

California has seen a boom in its population, since its induction into the union, taking it to one of the most populated states. Because of this it also boasts the highest rates of citizenry receiving government assistance as a source of income, more than 1.2 million recipients in 2000 (more than twice the entire population of Alaska). Alaska had just under 25,000 in the same year.

Just something to think of.

Now for the oil debate. Since you brought it up, Alaska would be happy to not sell you a drop of our oil, because there are plenty of places overseas that would pay 25, 30, even 50% more for it, and be pleased as pie to do it. Unfortunately, again due to people from States that have no resources or have spent their 100 years or so depleting them, we can't. We are federally mandated to sell it to the US. Another interesting fact that people don't bother looking at is that we tax our oil no more than Texas does. The taxes you are paying are Road Taxes. Those are federal. You're complaining to the wrong crowd. We are paying $3.21 as I look out my window right now... and it came from our ground.

Now for the final bit of idiocy, all those "taxes" we collect on your poor tourists for our $1000 breathing money? If you had bothered to look into the Permanent Fund at all you will quickly find that almost none of the oil tax revenue the fund receives is put into the dividend that is paid out. Nearly 99 percent of the fund is funded by return on investments the PFD board has made over the years. In fact, I think some Alaskans would be pleased to know that there are several buildings in California that our fund owns!

We own these three 100%. There was a few more but we only owned them like 98 or so. Just an interesting side fact, that even if 2 dollars come in for each dollar that goes out... we still find the time to help the other states build their office buildings, and yet they manage to complain about a 50 dollar head tax that pays for the dock they land on.

Really, when I think of Alaska, I don't think Taxes I think of vast, untouched lands, and natural beauty and wonder. The problem with the mindset of people today is instant gratification for free. If you want something that you can't get for yourself, you need to understand that someone has to pay for it. It should be you, the one utilizing that resource. Tourists want to visit Alaska. Do to that effectively; you need a multi-million dollar dock facility at each port, and crew to run it. Therefore, a head tax is needed. End of (That) story.

So to Peter James I say farewell. Though I can't honestly say that I will miss you or the other misinformed, unthinking people like you. At least look into something a bit before you assume (remember the old adage) that someone is just trying to ring a few bucks from your wallet.

Tyrell Rettke
Ketchikan, AK - USA


About: "A citizen of Ketchikan for 16 years, manager of a local shop, involved in non-profit work, an avid photographer and an outdoor enthusiast, dabbles in music, passionate debunker of untruths, especially when they give my home a bad rap."


Related Viewpoint:

letter My last trip to Alaska By Peter James - CA - USA



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Ketchikan, Alaska