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)
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.
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."
last trip to Alaska By Peter James - CA - USA
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