It's not like she was buying votes though. It's policy to give proceeds from Alaskan oil to Alaskans. It's just one of their State things.
But, in any case, here's the deal. To achieve social/class advancement you need money. The goal of a good government is to try and get as many people moving up as you can. So you try and get people off welfare, you expand the middle class and you try and turn the middle class into the wealthy.
The two primary ways that people will do this is by investing in shares or creating a business. Impediments to this are the capital gains tax and property taxes. If property taxes are the main source of your government's revenue, they're liable to quite high and this WILL kill off small businesses.
Small businesses are one of the largest providers of jobs in America. In small towns, this is even more pronounced. By lowering property taxes you enable more small businesses to survive and grow and encourage other people to create businesses as well. By doing this you can grow your town's economy.
The government still needs revenue for roads, school, welfare and such, however. So, the taxes need to be applied somewhere else. Sales tax is good for this because it's distributed across your entire consumer base, which isn't just limited to your town's population meaning you can tax tourists and travellers. And sales tax is more of a nickle and dime system, it's small amounts of money by a lot of people over a decent period of time, so it isn't crippling. In addition, land owners and the wealthy will still be paying taxes because they will still need to be purchasing things.
Economically, it just makes sense to me. Can you elaborate on your objections to it a little more for me?