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Letter to the editor: North Dakota, Alaska are worth some comparison

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In June I returned to the town where I was born, Jamestown. I came here from Alaska, where I had lived and worked for a few years. It was long enough to get to know the policies of Alaska well enough. There are similarities and differences that may be worth considering, especially as many are considering the property tax question.

Alaska and North Dakota are alike in several ways. Some of these are as follows:

1. Usually both have cold winters and ample snow.

2. They both have a relatively small population in consideration of the geographical size.

3. Both are somewhat dependent upon the federal government for maintenance in some given areas.

4. The oil industry benefits state budgets.

There are differences also:

1. Alaska has no state income tax.

2. Alaska has no state sales tax.

3. People over 65 years of age in Alaska pay no property tax.

4. Oil revenue in Alaska is shared directly with every citizen of that state. (Citizenship is established after one year, after that time every citizen, man, woman and child receives a PFD or "Permanent Fund Dividend" from the oil revenues. This usually amounts to a little over $1,000.)

The Permanent Fund Dividend must be applied for each year in March in order to receive it. It is given on the following year. For example, those qualified in 2010 did not receive it until October of 2011. Applications in Alaska are in the month of March and the PFD is sent out at the end of October.

I believe that Louisiana also has a PFD. Louisiana also has low gas prices as they use refineries in that state, which eliminates the need to ship gas and oil from other states. Alaska does have a refinery, but oil and gas are shipped from outside Alaska.

Perhaps citizens of North Dakota would enjoy more information about revenue and taxation.

Marlene Stafford

Jamestown

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