According to our fierce leader on the Alaska/Soviet frontline, holding back Putin from the lower 48, raising the top marginal tax rates from 36 to 39% will usher in a new era of socialism, but this is not socialist at all:
Ms. Palin, in an interview in her office on Friday, said she was ready to work.
“Now we kick in that fiscal conservativeness that needs to be engaged, and we progress this state with $57-a-barrel oil,” Ms. Palin said. She said the state would have to “be prudent with public dollars and provide services more efficiently than have ever been provided in the state of Alaska before.”
The price and production of oil determines state finances: taxes on oil bring in about 85 percent of state revenue. To balance the budget for the 2008-9 fiscal year, the price of oil needs to average $74 over the 12 months, said Karen J. Rehfeld, director of the state office of management and budget. If it falls below that average, the state could have to make emergency cuts or dip into a reserve account that contains several billion dollars. High prices early in the fiscal year may help keep the average up this year, but next year is another matter.
That is right. Taxes Alaska takes from oil and gas companies balance their budget, and that only happens if oil costs more than 74 bucks a barrel. In other words, in order for Gov. Palin to be that reforming mavericky fiscal conservative, you and I and every other American, real or not, needs to pay through the teeth for gas. If we don’t have high gas prices, Alaska doesn’t have a balanced budget. In a sense, Alaska is taxing YOU to pay for their budget. A nice gig if you can get it.
Also, while clearly not socialism, either, Gov. Palin gets to mail out big checks to every Alaska resident. In 2008, that was about $3300.00 big ones. That buys a fair bit of moose hunting ammo.
In addition to all this, Alaska is one of the largest recipients of federal aid to state and local government per capita. In 2006, it was 3600 per person, making them #2 in the nation. Only Dick Cheney’s Wyoming ranked higher. This fiscal conservatism is fricking awesome, and you almost have to wonder how she managed to get Wasilla 20 million dollars in debt.
This socialism thing is so hard to figure out these days. It is almost like the rules keep changing. And WTF was that sentence in the beginning of what I quoted (“now we kick in that fiscal…”)? That was worse than Bush.