Unexpected consequences from big opportunities

I have no crystal ball, and I don't know how this presidential campaign will turn out. I am willing to make one prediction, though: the citizens of Alaska will find their state budget and their personal pocketbooks are affected by this campaign.

We denizens of the lower 48 had no idea of the extent to which we subsidize Alaska. For every dollar of federal income tax Alaskans pay, they receive back $1.84 in federal spending.

We also pay through higher energy costs. Alaskans not only pay no state income tax, they receive an annual payment from the state funded by petroleum taxes on the oil they sell us. Michael Kinsley says, "The trick is that Alaska's government spends money on its own citizens and taxes the rest of us to pay for it."

Alaskans pay property taxes, but have no sales tax. The result: a state and local tax burden of 3.3%, one of the lowest in the nation. It probably helps when a mayor of a very small Alaskan city can get federal earmarks of $1,000 per year per resident.

Regardless of who wins in November, I bet that the flow of tax dollars from the lower 48 to the "The Last Frontier" slows down considerably.


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