Opinion: Simple math points to more equitable tax plan

To me it seems like simple math.

  • Judy Smathers
  • Monday, May 15, 2023 2:18pm
  • Opinion

Did you know that there are millions of dollars in wages and unemployment benefits that are paid to nonresidents of Alaska? These workers are in the oil, mining, tourism, fishing, and construction industries. Many of these employees do not live in Alaska, they travel to and from for work. That means they take their paycheck home, pay no property taxes to help with services, spend minimal amounts at stores in Alaska, and when they get laid off seasonally, they collect unemployment benefits from the state of Alaska via an intra-state transfer with their home state.

Around 1998 there was an article in Trends magazine published by the Research and Analysis Section of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. This article had actual figures for wage and benefit amounts leaving Alaska, it was shocking how much money leaves our state. If a modified state income tax is reinstated this would generate a lot of income for the state of Alaska. I propose that this could be a partial to possibly a full refund for some income brackets for full-time Alaskans that live and work here.

I’ve written several times to our legislators, but they are not interested in looking into this since it is a tax. Now that our governor is suggesting a tax that would only affect those of us that live and work here in Alaska, it’s time to rally for a more equitable plan.

To me it seems like simple math.

• Judy Smathers is a retired accounting supervisor for the employment security tax division of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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