With the Legislature scheduled to open its 2002 session on Jan. 14, Alaskans can be forgiven if the prospect makes them nervous.
With a looming fiscal gap on the order of $900 million -- the difference between projected revenues and expenditures -- the nervousness is easy to understand.
Among those with qualms about what the legislative session might bring are members of the business community, especially the oil, oil support and visitor industries, all of which fear the gap might be filled at their expense.
Such new taxes easily could deter new investment and reduce job opportunities in the state, making future fiscal gaps even wider. With other parts of the country and the world already competing for investment dollars that might otherwise come to Alaska, the prospects are chilling.
And the public is jittery about possible reimposition of a personal income tax and anything that might reduce the size of Permanent Fund dividend checks.
The Legislature also will face contentious issues such as a subsistence priority and who gets it. And, since 2002 will be an election year, anything can happen. --
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.