At the Alaska Policy Forum we have always believed that if one follows the money, one will soon understand why certain legislators vote for bills even though many of their constituents stand to gain nothing. For example, our recently published article on “Follow the Money to Find Who Funds Your Legislator” linked all legislators to their funders over the years. These funders included government unions, individuals and many other special interests.
Now we have exposed the organization that has lobbied for an income tax in the legislature–the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). ITEP has been invited by the House Majority (aka Musk Rat caucus) to provide testimony on many occasions to several committees on the positive aspects of a statewide income tax. Most of its discussion is based on the premise that an income tax will have less effect on low income Alaskans than a cut to the PFD.
Now why would ITEP support an income tax versus right sizing the state government? Who would benefit from maintaining an overgrown state government? If you answered state employees and the several government unions you would be correct. You see the ITEP has a partner, Citizens for Tax Justice. As a matter of fact, ITEP and CTJ have the same executive director, Alan Essig.
Let’s look a little deeper into the CTJ organization and look at the board of directors-that should tell us a lot about its agenda. Well, surprise, surprise! Look at this list of government union and private union leaders who make up the board:
- Gerald McEntee, President, American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFL-CIO)
- John Gage, National President American Federation of Government Employees union (largest federal employee union)
- Colleen Kelly, President, National Treasury Employees Union (IRS)
- Loretta Johnson, Executive Vice President, American Federation of Teachers (second largest teachers union)
- Steve Brobeck, Consumer Federation of America
- Larry Cohen, President Communications Workers of America
- Joseph T. Hansen, President United Food & Commercial Workers union
- Frank Hurt, President, BCT & GM International Union
- R. Thomas Buffenbarger, President International Association of Machinists
- Blair Horner, New York Public Interest Research Group
- Lenny Goldberg, California Tax Reform Association
- Christopher St. John, Maine Center for Economic Policy
- Carmen Berkley, President United States Student Association
The Alaska State Employee Association is a unit of the AFL-CIO and has 8,336 member; Local #71 is a unit of the AFL-CIO with 1701 members; and the Teachers Association of Mt. Edgecumbe is a unit of the NEA national teachers union. For all state government unions go here.
It’s no wonder that ITEP has been invited to provide testimony on the income tax bill, HB115, to support a bigger government, more government employees, and charge the bill to Alaskans as an income tax. So, remember to connect the dots to follow the money–in this case legislators calling on a liberal think tank to support an income tax to continue with a bloated government.
It’s easy to connect the dots to liberal lawmakers and their government unions. Check out the “Follow the Money to Find Out Who Funds Your Legislator” article and then connect the dots to ITEP and CTJ. Don’t be surprised.
You as an individual Alaskan get your “two minutes of democracy” to testify on the income tax bill while the government unions get their proxy ITEP/CTJ, invited by the Musk Rat coalition, to provide hours of testimony to push their income tax. All the while, government union employees get a 3.2 to 3.5 “merit” pay increase.