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History shapes current election for voter

Posted: September 21, 2011 - 10:35am

Some wise person once said, “People who forget history are likely to make the same mistakes over again,” or something to that effect. Sounds like something Will Rogers might have said, but it is still true today.

The history I’m thinking of relates to the personal property tax the borough was charging on boats and airplanes 20-some years ago. When I arrived on scene in the mid 1980s, the personal property tax was a percentage of what the borough assessor deemed was that value of your boat or airplane. Tax on a Cessna 185 was about $900 a year and a Beaver on floats nearly $2,000. The larger boats were taxed in the thousands. Consequently, some owners were storing their planes in Anchorage or Mat-Su during the winter months to avoid the tax. Some boats were home porting in Kodiak and having maintenance done there, even when the owner lived in Homer.

In the early 1990s I was part of a committee that was lobbying the borough assembly to change that tax structure. One assemblyman I clearly remember, was adamantly opposed to any reduction in that tax. I won’t mention his name here (his initials are DB) but he is now a candidate for Mayor. He succeeded in blocking our efforts for several months, until the next election and Mike Navarre became our Mayor.

Under Mike’s leadership and with considerable help from the late Drew Scalzi and other assembly members, we got the flat tax structure which is still in place today. Now the boats and planes can be home for Christmas.

The moral to this story is, if you own a boat or airplane, you might be wise to vote for Mike Navarre in the coming election. Come to think of it, it’s probably a good idea regardless of what you own.

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kenai.voter 09/22/11 - 11:22 am
Fact Check

You seem to be a pretty smart guy Mr. Woodin, but I'd check your facts; Candidate DB became Mayor AFTER Mike Navarre. Also, if I remember correctly, the flat-tax for boats and airplane owners was off-set by raising car tax for everyone else. I'll statd to be corrected, but that's the way I remember it.

Allen 09/22/11 - 09:50 pm
Wrong History

Mr. Woodin is incorrect in his attempt at a history lesson. According to Borough records, Dale Bagley wasn't on the assembly in the early 1990s, his term was 1995-1998. During his term, he voted in favor of Ordinance 97-73, the ordinance that Mr. Woodin is so proud of, that exempted boats from personal property tax, and and increased the motor vehicle registration tax on cars to pay for the boat tax exemption. According to the assembly minutes, before the final vote on Ordinance 97-73, Mr. Bagley tried to amend the ordinance to remove the increase on the car tax. Mayor Navarre spoke against Mr. Bagley's amendment to remove the increase on the car tax, and the amendment failed 5-4.

So now borough taxpayers pay more borough taxes on their cars than boat and airplanes owners do.

bob99507 09/23/11 - 06:32 am

Funny how often facts changed in these election cycles.Must be something in the water

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