Opinion: Call the PFD what it is — a tax

Alaska needs to consider an income tax.

For the last three years, Alaskans who legally qualified for a PFD received a royalty check based on a percentage of the earnings and based on a five-year average. Of course the dividends for these last three years have been taxed at 50 percent to help run state government.

Call it what it is — a tax.

I seem to remember three years ago when Gov. Bill Walker and the state Senate stated their intentions to use the PFD for only three years. It’s interesting how that Pandora’s Box is now wide open. It’s also interesting how some Alaskans feel compelled to give up their PFD to fund state government.

[Opinion: Defend the PFD and Permanent Fund, or lose them both]

Remember, we all know government can do a better job with that money than you (sarcasm). If I wanted to, I could’ve donated to government years ago. I could have written a personal check to the Juneau School District and in the memo section written, “My PFD donation to school activities.” I haven’t heard of many doing this.

The current taxation of 50 percent on the PFD is the most inequitable ever. For the last three years, an estimated $3,200 has gone to state government from each of us, so it’s Alaska families who are saddled with the burden of funding government. A young family of four has paid $12,800 to help run state government.

[Opinion: Pass Gov. Dunleavy’s constitutional amendments]

The burden is not on six-figure income earners, millionaires, out-of-state workers, or even Alaskans who don’t qualify for a PFD, but only the families who qualified for this dividend. My children, grandchildren and even my great-grandchild paid more of that burden. It comes down to the families who can least afford it who are paying the highest burden of funding state government.

In the short term, an advisory vote of the people is needed and then a constitutional convention. Ask Alaska residents to loan $1 billion per year for the next three years from the principle to fund government. Gov. Mike Dunleavy and the legislators need to compromise. Within three years, Dunleavy will need to reconsider a state income tax. An equitable income tax is the fairest solution. One caveat — limit the amount of taxation per individual not to exceed a current year’s PFD.

You can reference former Gov. Jay Hammond. His books and interviews have much to say on the subject.

Dave Hurlbut,


• My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.