At its quarterly board meeting on February 21, the board of directors of the Alaska Federation of Natives, the state’s largest statewide Native organization, fortified its position on the state’s fiscal crisis. AFN strongly urges the Alaska State Legislature to pass a comprehensive solution to the state fiscal crisis in the 30th Legislative Session. As part of a comprehensive solution AFN supports the creation of an income tax, but adamantly opposes any regressive taxes, such as a sales tax, that would unfairly burden rural Alaska.
“The Walker administration, along with many Alaskan economists, has repeatedly stressed the urgency of a fiscal solution this year,” said Julie Kitka, AFN President. “We join the governor in demanding that our legislators get the job done now and not push it down the line where the crisis will cripple our state’s economy.”
AFN recognizes that a fair solution spreads the burden among all Alaskans while maintaining the state’s constitutional obligations and responsibilities to its citizens. No single fix on its own will eliminate the huge budget deficit, and each impacts the economy and groups of people differently. A sustainable budget going forward should include new revenues such as an income tax, smart restructuring of the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve while ensuring continued dividends, and precise budget cuts that don’t disproportionately impact our rural Alaska communities.