Proposed KPC cuts not that horrendous

Posted: Friday, February 18, 2011

I'm not in college. I don't own property (yet), I have heard all about borough Mayor David Carey's proposed budget cuts, primarily from Kenai Peninsula College. After hearing about it and watching the green protests I felt the need to offer a new prospective on the budget cuts that those opposing it may not be considering.

Five-point-four percent is 5.4 percent of a budget no matter the size of that budget. It is not a significant chunk of a budget. Even the home-budget-managing-mom can tell you, 5.4 percent is nothing to work around, try a 50-percent reduction from, say, a lay-off from Conoco. I value education, but I see shelter, food and warmth for the community a higher priority. The alternative is to raise property taxes boroughwide. Our foreclosure rate is already not exactly low. Even with our comparably low population we rank 28th in the nation. When you take that into account you realize the borough would rather cut 5.4-percent from one particular school than raise taxes on a community already suffering and barely able to put food on the table. The unemployment rate on the Peninsula is 10.7 percent. Percent of residents on food stamps is 14.7 percent. Do you think these people can afford to pay more taxes so that the college doesn't have to rethink its spending? How about that big shiny sign they just installed using surplus funds from last year's budget? How much did that cost? A school with excess budget funds can't cut 5.4 percent of that budget?

Carey isn't cutting all schools funding, just the college. And to my knowledge college is not supposed to be free, the students pay fees that supports the college.

As for the removal of tax exceptions, everyone should pay taxes If the struggling mother of seven with no job pays taxes, so should everyone else. It's fair and part of being a contributing member of society.

The other cuts being made do also not outweigh the alternative. CARTS? It's a badly run pathetic excuse for public transport. If it wants funding it should be re-done and done right. Tourism marketing? What do they do? Remind people that Alaska has great fishing and wildlife? In my 25 years here I have never seen a commercial about us, poster or flier.

I recognize that those who go to or work at KPC or don't own property may have bias, but realism explains Carey's thought process. Has the college considered poor people don't pay for college? You increase taxes, people have less money, meaning a budget decrease for the college anyway, and an increase in people needing assistance to attend, hence decreasing budget-increasing spending. It's a lose, lose.

Rather than painting their hair colors and holding signs, why not be productive and think up alternatives to balance the budget.

Amanda Vin Zant, Soldotna

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