Dec 9 (AP) — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is proposing instituting a personal income tax for the first time in 35 years as the oil-dependent state looks to plug a multibillion-dollar budget deficit amid chronically low prices.
In laying out his budget plan Wednesday, Walker also proposed using the fund that provides annual checks to most Alaskans to generate a stream of cash to help finance state government. The plan would change how dividends are calculated and mean lower checks, at least initially — with 2016 payouts about $1,000 less than this year’s.
Alaska isn’t alone among oil-producing states to experience hard times as oil prices stay low. But unlike states like Texas or Louisiana, Alaska has few other industries to make up the difference.
Walker’s proposal also includes:
—Adding a dime to every drink of alcohol and $1 per pack of cigarettes.
—Additional budget cuts.
—Changes to the oil tax credit system, a big budget item.
—Increases to industry taxes including mining, fishing and oil.
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