Monthly Archives: January 2006

Sales Taxes: The Continuing Saga

The front page of the Alaska section of today’s Anchorage Daily News sports the headline, “Sales tax plans considered for ballot.” Sales taxes are inherently regressive, so they are bad for low and middle income families because sales taxes shift the burden of taxes away from the wealthy, and onto the backs of working families. I have explained this in other blogs, and have provided some solid references in those blog entries on this matter.

In my research and discussions with various knowlegeable colleagues on the matter of the proposed sales taxes in Anchorage, a number of other troubling issues have surfaced: Read the rest of this entry

Climate Change and Public Policy in Alaska

This is the big one. If there were ever an issue that was going to have an enormous impact on public policy in Alaska on every level, this is it–climate change. Villages are washing away. The tundra is melting and buildings are sinking and tilting. We can expect new diseases, and the greater proliferation of older ones. Oil and gas development will be impacted in ways we are just beginning to determine. Read the rest of this entry

Budget Surplus for What?

The following are a few budget facts I have selected from Senator Kim Elton’s witty and informative January 20th e-mailed newsletter, Off the Record.

$3.6 billion*–That’s the governor’s proposed general fund spending level for fiscal year 2007….

$432 million*–That’s the general fund amount the governor wants to spend on capital projects. The governor’s proposed general fund construction budget is $93 million higher than this year’s GF construction budget, which was far larger than normal. Read the rest of this entry

Alliance for Retired Americans

I am a big fan of the Alliance for Retired Americans. The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is “to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security.” The organization has an excellent newsletter and an extremely informative website. I want to stress that this organization does not focus only on those who have retired, but also addresses the larger picture, which includes all those who will retire in the future–which includes just about everyone.

I appreciate in particular the attention ARA pays to progressive legislation at the State level, which provides direction and precedence for possible future legislation in Alaska. I have included below a reprint of most of ARA’s thought-provoking newsletter of January 13, 2006. You can sign up for the weekly newsletter on the home page of the ARA newsletter, and the website has more information about each of the subjects briefly covered in the newsletter. Read the rest of this entry

An Extraordinary Resource for Alaskans is a project of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and is designed to provide free, up-to-date, and easy-to-use health data on all 50 states. provides data on more than 500 health topics, and all this information is available about Alaska, for Alaskans. Read the rest of this entry