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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Revenue options: Thanks for participating

By Dan Ortiz


December 11, 2015
Friday AM

To me, government by the people and for the people is more than just a theoretical concept. I believe this famous phrase from President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address must be put into practice for government to work. That’s why I’ve been going door to door, mailing out surveys and holding meetings in the communities I represent. At our town meeting on December 1st, I shared my revenue survey results and asked attendees to fill out a questionnaire on Governor Walker’s proposed endowment fund model.

The survey results showed our district supports restructuring our oil tax program to maximize profit. There is also majority support for a state lottery. A common suggestion was to create a tax on marijuana sales.

Most respondents to the town meeting questionnaire asked that we continue reducing government expenditures and seek new revenue. The responses show 63 percent saying they strongly or somewhat support Governor Walker's plan. About 20 percent said they are neutral, while 17 percent stated they are strongly or somewhat opposed.

The most common suggestions were: cut oil credits, megaprojects, the annual Anchorage LIO building lease and legislative per diem. I agree with all of these suggestions and will advocate for their funding to be cut. I recommended last week that legislative per diem be cut by 15 percent. Another suggestion was that Alaska should look to sell hydropower and create more energy systems from which the state can profit. I shared this idea with the Department of Revenue and they informed me this could potentially be big industry for southeast. I have successfully worked in the past to support our southeast hydropower projects, and I will continue to fight for increased hydropower infrastructure in the upcoming session.

Most respondents indicated that corrections is the least important department and implored me to seek cuts and reduce sentences for non-violent crimes in order to stop, as one participant stated, ‘the culture of incarceration.’ More people indicated they would choose an income tax over a sales tax, but most asked that we create an income tax for non-resident seasonal workers and a sales tax during the summer before creating a year-long tax impacting everyday Alaskans.

Thank you to those who participated in the revenue options survey or attended our town meeting.

Dan Ortiz
Ketchikan, Alaska

About: Ortiz is an independent member of the Alaska House of Representatives, who has since 2015 represented the 36th District. He is the only independent in the Alaska State Legislature. District 36 includes includes Ketchikan, Wrangell, Metlakatla, Saxman, Hydaburg, Hyder & Loring.

Received December 09, 2015 - Published December 11, 2015


letter Wanted: Your Opinion By DAN ORTIZ



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