the free ride is over, Senate Republicans

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I’ve heard that there are still Republican Senators running around telling people: “The Senate is the only thing standing between you and an income tax!”

Let’s break that down and decode what they’re really saying.

Civilization is expensive
The thing is, Republican legislators tell people that there’s a ton of wasteful State government spending (there isn’t), but then when their actual budget comes through, they cut the stuff people actually need – like Pioneers’ Homes and education for kids – when they could balance our budget in a heartbeat by reducing or eliminating our subsidies to oil companies.

The fact is, when it comes down to it, State services are important to people’s daily lives. Schools, search-and-rescue, sanitation, restaurant kitchen inspection, paralytic shellfish poisoning education: the State is responsible for some part of that everywhere in Alaska.

All that stuff costs money.

That’s something that the rest of the country has figured out. Pretty much everyone outside of Alaska pays state taxes on either their income or their purchases, and they do it exactly because they need to have services.

Thanks for paying for all our stuff, rest of the country!
Alaskans have gotten used to having other people pay our bills. We’re a net recipient of Federal income taxes, many of us don’t pay municipal sales taxes, and oil & gas taxes gave us a pretty good run.

If Alaska Republicans – who caused our current fiscal mess – had been fiscally responsible during the decades when they had both houses of the Legislature and the governorship, maybe we would have been able to avoid an income tax indefinitely. But we’ll never know.

So, here we are: in special session (again) because Republicans have enjoyed being “takers” for so long that they have forgotten what it’s like to pay your own bills.

They’re against asking each Alaskan who can afford it to pay for a portion of civilization – the parts of the State budget that include schools and granny care and services to anyone not an oil company. And they’re really against telling oil companies that we can’t afford to prop them up any more.

I don’t want to pay an income tax any more than anyone else does, but you know what I do want?

A future.

If Alaska’s going to have one, we’ll have to work together to motivate Senate Republicans, because they seem to like coasting along on someone else’s tab.

– Mary

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