State officials should consider this idea to wipe out deficit

Posted: Thursday, May 06, 2004

I am a resident of the state of Alaska. I am a registered voter who chooses to exercise my privilege to do so. That being said, I would like to voice my opinion. It is not something I do as often as I should. I am usually the kind of person that follows the newspapers, radio, etc. in regards to the workings of our government, try to have intelligent dialogue regarding the issues that face our state and vote my conscience. One of the things that gets under my skin is the people (and you know who you are!) who complain and complain, but will not even register to vote. Unless you have had your right to vote taken away from you, put up or shut up. But I digress.

I have been following with great interest how Gov. Frank Murkowski (for whom I did vote) and his predecessors have attempted to resolve the problem of balancing or at least shortening the deficit for the state of Alaska. I believe that Gov. Murkowski did the exact opposite of what he promised.

This is not a man who was unaware of the problems in this state. Gov. Murkowski has been an elected official for many, many years. So it appears to me that our governor may have intentionally misrepresented his true intentions. Is that outrageous behavior?

I do understand rectifying the state of Alaska's money problems is an extremely difficult proposition that covers a wide range of complications in order to solve the problem, if in fact that can ever be accomplished. A lot of the time, the solutions seem to target specific groups.

And if a particular proposition doesn't personally affect a specific individual negatively by much, human nature being what it is dictates that the majority (not all) of those individuals will cast their vote in that direction. I think most reasonable adults really don't wish to be burdened with any more taxes, but tough problems sometimes require tough actions.

But what if there actually was an "easy" solution to generate additional revenue to help resolve the budget shortfalls?

Some of the solutions our government have proposed have been outrageous, unjust and unfair. So, in keeping with that pattern, I think that I might have come up with an equally outrageous concept, an idea that Gov. Murkowski could use to generate revenue that would be far more equitable and fair handed. He can even take credit for it if he wishes.

It would not punish specific demographics because they smoke, drink alcohol, own real or personal property, purchase gasoline or visit our state as a tourist. It would not discriminate against the low-, middle- or high-income populace of this state; single adults or married couples, with or without lots of children.

Therefore, it could tax individual people and businesses fairly and equitably through out all of Alaska. Why I bet if this idea were implemented, it could serve as a model for other states to follow, possibly even the nation!

It is a resource that everyone uses, so the burden would be shared more equitably by the entire population of the state, whether they are here permanently, or temporarily. It won't discriminate against gender, religion, income or marital status. And the "end" users will not diminish because this resource will not cause cancer, contribute to drunk driving deaths or deplete the ozone layer.

So, I hereby throw my opinion (albeit a bit tongue in cheek) into the ring and request that our elected officials consider wiping out the budget deficit by taxing toilet paper! Call it a tax, call it a user fee, call it a fine if you don't use it. Just consider it.

Pamela Elkins


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