'Tax Me More' fund could pave way to fiscal solvency

Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2002

For reasons increasingly hard to fathom, there are among us those whose vision for Alaska's future happily includes taxes of all kinds, including the most onerous and sure-to-grow tax of all, an income tax.

In their view, and despite the history of the world, government is good, and more government is better. They mistakenly believe government -- which spends wealth and produces none of its own -- is somehow a great economic engine for our growing state.

These good folks believe a state with $25 billion or so in the bank and one that boasts annual dividend checks to its residents needs taxes to survive.

Alaska spends more on just about everything. Education. Welfare. Name it. Yet these vocal few demand more taxes to prop up even more spending.

Most Alaskans hold radically different views on taxes. They believe that if they work for a paycheck, they should be able to keep as much of it as possible. They also know bureaucrats always demand more.

Despite that, there is no reason, in our view, to short-change those who want to give the state's ever-growing government a portion of their pay to help it make ends meet.

That is why we are proposing that Alaska lawmakers adopt a version of Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's ''Tax Me More Fund,'' which accepts voluntary tax contributions from those eager to pay more.

Like Alaska and many other states, legislators in Arkansas were scratching high and low for ways to head off budget cuts -- isn't that usually the way? -- and were pushing Huckabee to consider state tax increases.

Huckabee declined, saying that piling on more taxes during a recession is a lousy idea. Instead, late last year he offered his tongue-in-cheek fund idea. In the first few months of its existence, the fund took in a whopping $1,100. In a state of 2.7 million souls. Apparently, Razorback State residents do not burn with the tax fervor of some folks here.

Surely Alaskans, especially those who want a slice of your paycheck to ensure continued state government largesse, could do better. Certainly they would enthusiastically welcome the formation of such a fund. After all, what better way could there be to prove to the doubting Thomases once and for all that Alaskans are yearning to send Juneau more in taxes if only someone could show them a way?

The Alaska Legislature has the rare opportunity to be a bright beacon in a stormy tax sea, a signal fire in the financial forest, a rocket in the dark and desperate skies of tax lovers everywhere, a . . . well you get the picture.

Lawmakers should not -- must not -- hesitate to establish Alaska's own ''Tax Me More Fund.''

In that way, those who crave more government finally can pay for it.

--Voice of the (Anchorage) Times

April 10

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