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Local seniors are more than a commodity

Posted: January 17, 2014 - 9:30am

What I found most disturbing regarding the Borough’s proposed ordinance to raise taxes on some resident seniors was their lack of justification for increasing the taxation for this group. Sure, many seniors can afford to pay more, but why should they be targeted for tax increases?

Seniors benefit our borough. Local seniors contribute to borough sales tax revenue. All local residents benefit, not only by their presence and the life experience that they share with us, but by the economic benefits that we all gain when they spend their money in the borough.

In the past, our Borough Assembly supported an unlimited property tax exemption for our seniors. This enlightened act retained many seniors and attracted many more. I find it disturbing when our current local politicians now find taxing local seniors the most attractive alternative for balancing their budget.

Statistics show a growing senior population here. I believe that’s good for our community.

Mayor Navarre introduced the ordinance and Assembly members Bill Smith, Brent Johnson, Hal Smalley and Mako Haggarty voted to reduce seniors’ exemptions. The good news is there were five Assembly members that voted to preserve them. Our borough should consider the benefits of providing tax relief for seniors.

If the Borough Assembly wants to fix something, then let the people vote to restore the unlimited property tax exemption for all local seniors. We should go back to the day that we welcomed seniors and should encourage people to retire in our community.

I believe this change would be in our best interests.

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ptzsr1 01/19/14 - 12:36 am
a good summary

This is a good summary of the contributions by Seniors to the KPB. When the previous administration pushed for eliminating the unlimited Seniors exemption it was done with questionable and inflated financial projections. No mention of the significant loss of revenue and jobs to the Peninsula was presented to the public.

We have a current administration without a need to follow in the Williams administration footsteps.

Mayor Navarre has the opportunity to redress other administrations mistakes and to significantly increase both jobs and revenue on the KPB.

Mr. Price, hopefully your commentary is a beginning. Facts will certainly support your position.

Norseman 01/20/14 - 08:20 am
"....but why should they be

"....but why should they be targeted for tax increases?..."

Are you kidding me? It is just the opposite. Why are seniors being targeted for a tax exemption?

James Price
James Price 01/20/14 - 09:19 pm
Local Seniors were targeted.

The ordinance that claimed to "clarify" tax exemptions was clearly a tax increase. If it were a clarification, an ordinance would not be necessary. An ordinance creates NEW law.

The Mayor interprets the applicable law as written in Borough code and is required to govern as such. The "Clarification" ordinance was an excuse, not a reason, and a direct tax increase on some local Seniors.

Seniors have paid their dues. The Borough is not burdened by their exemptions.

If 20% of the resident Senior homeowners had homes that were worth $350,000, the portion of the Borough's general property tax levy that would have been extinguished by taking away their residential property tax exemption would amount to less than 1% of the total levy.

This amount does not burden any taxpayer. Shifting the tax burden from Seniors, 100% of whom live HERE, onto the general levy, which consists of only 5% local homeowners is why I support an entirely separate act, which would be to restore the unlimited exemption.

When the Assembly, during Mayor John Williams administration reduced the general levy by about 30% (from 6.5 mils to 4.5 mils, I believe), that tax break provided a significant borough tax reduction for oil property, commercial property and investors. However, that tax break was balanced by a 50% INCREASE in sales tax (from 2% to 3%), which is paid for in large part by local residents and Seniors.

Why provide tax breaks to business when our tax rate was already very competitive? Did you know that ALL oil producing properties pay 20 mils by state law and what we don't collect (20 mils - 4.5 mils = 15.5 mils) goes to the state, thereby saving those taxpayers nothing. Our Borough now collects more money for the state treasury and balances the money they send to the state with an increase in sales taxes, which are largely collected from the local residents.

There are much better ways to balance the Borough tax burden without increasing taxes for local residents and Seniors.

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