Fairbanks senator's wage tax would support education
This year's first Legislature bill promoting a tax was introduced on Monday, in a bid to collect money for school facilities.
Senate Bill 50 from Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, would reprise a repealed head tax on employed residents and non-residents. It calls for collecting $30 from employees' first paycheck each year to help cover public school construction and maintenance costs.
"The need for new revenues to fund Alaska’s schools is as important today as it’s always been," Bishop said in a statement. "We need to talk about that."
Gov. Mike Dunleavy will roll out his amended budget on Wednesday, which Dunleavy said will not include any new taxes.
"If the Legislature wants to talk about different approaches to revenue, I think they should do that," Dunleavy said in a wide-ranging interview with KTVA. "We are also running models on various taxes just so we can get that information out to the people."
Last year, Bishop authored a bill that created an education raffle when applying for a Permanent Fund dividend.
“The education raffle is designed to help put additional money in the classroom,” Bishop said. “The education head tax is aimed at getting money for brick-and-mortar schools that house our students. Currently, we need $112 million in deferred maintenance and $190 million for construction.”
For more than 60 years, starting in 1919, Alaska had an annual employment head tax to help cover public education costs, according to research by Bishop's office. The state assessed the tax equally and was $10 per employee when it was repealed in 1980. Bishop said the $30 tax would be equivalent to the repealed tax.
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