Poll Shows Small Business Split on State Revenue Options

A poll released two days after Governor Bill Walker’s roll out of his state budget shows Alaska businesses are opposed to many forms of new taxation, but split on use of the Permanent Fund.

The poll released on December 11th questioned 2,000 Alaska based members of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which calls itself “America’s largest and leading small-business association.”

The numbers show that while both a personal income tax and state sales tax are overwhelmingly opposed by NFIB members, use of the Permanent Fund in some manner is statistically even with 44% supporting and 47 opposing.

Even more interestingly, a state income tax is 14% more unpopular than a state sales tax, even though sales taxes are usually opposed by business groups on the grounds they will be costly and difficult for small business to administer. It would appear given the choice of paying a tax on their own income or handling the taxes collected from their customers, NFIB members would rather do the latter.

Here is the full slate of questions and results of the poll:

Should Alaska reinstitute a personal income tax?

Yes–19 percent

No–74 percent

Und.–7 percent

Should Alaska establish a statewide sales tax?

Yes–20 percent

No–60 percent

Und.–20 percent

Should Alaska use investment earnings of the Permanent Fund to fund state government?

Yes–44 percent

No–47 percent

Und.–9 percent

Should Alaska’s Wage Hour Act be amended to require the defendant’s burden of proof in overtime and minimum wage issues to the “preponderance of evidence” standard rather than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard?

Yes–55 percent

No–12 percent

Und.–33 percent

Should employers be prohibited from considering an applicant’s criminal history until the interview process has concluded?

Yes–5 percent

No–92 percent

Und.–3 percent

For their part, the NFIB had this to say about their poll:

“All of us appreciate and sympathize with the enormous task the governor has with balancing the state’s books,” said Denny DeWitt, Alaska state director for the National Federation of Independent Business. “What our ballot results hope to do is contribute to the debate by offering the opinions of those most affected by the final decision: The small-business owners of Alaska, who, unlike big companies and corporations, cannot absorb and spread increased costs over a wide pool of customers and clients. NFIB members fail to see how the proposal to move $200 million out of the private sector through a personal income tax in order to prop up state spending protects or enhances the viability of Alaska’s fragile economy. Rather than expanding economic activity, it appears only to give government more control over an individual’s personal resources.”

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1 Comment on "Poll Shows Small Business Split on State Revenue Options"

  1. http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/alaska-would-rather-go-broke-than-pay-taxes/

    Alaska Would Rather Go Broke Than Pay Taxes

    “But it remains to be seen whether Alaska voters — and the legislators who must face them in November — will accept the need for such radical steps. If they don’t, experts on both ends of the political spectrum agree, the eventual reckoning will be far greater.”

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