Last Tuesday night I attended the (Kenai Peninsula) Borough Assembly meeting as I have been doing for some time. I have not seen Don Johnson there at any time and especially the other night to testify and learn about the bed tax. Most of his comments on Monday's editorial are unfounded and misinformed. If he wants to be so generous to our fishing guests, he should give them a free day or at least a 20 percent discount for coming.
Many of you people remember the late Don Mansfield (a brilliant man) from Barbara Point here on Kachemak Bay. Before the 1964 earthquake, we had known the Mansfield family as at that time our only communication was citizen ban radios and being across the bay we could talk with them where we could not reach Homer. Don sold out and went to Florida among other places and as we were in the tourist business he explained some of the local costs of our visitors.
Local residents maintain many services year-round, which the visitors use for a short period of time in the summer. This does create a burden on the local people, who have little or no benefit from these visitors. A bed or seat tax is one way to shift this burden for a short period of time to these visitors. It has taken a long time for this to sink in, but with Mayor (Dale) Bagley telling the assembly how he would suggest getting more money from the local residents, and looking into Betty Glick's bed tax proposal, I understand and totally support this tax.
It will have little or no effect on visitor travel. It is used every place I have traveled all over the United States and Canada.
In December of last year, I spent two weeks traveling the Northwest and Canada and paid a bed tax every night from 8 percent to 16 percent and it made no difference where I went.
The bed tax is utilized all over and we are a fool not to take advantage of this opportunity. The only difference is this outside income will be for the general public or residents of the peninsula and not solely for the vendors in the tourist industry. It is about time we get the benefit of some of the millions of dollars claimed to be generated by the tourist industry. At least it will stay here at home.
The people talking against this tax are generally in two groups: those that are against any tax and those in the business of collecting ALL the tourist dollars who do not want to share the burden they have created.
More power to you Betty, and I hope the rest of the assembly supports you. Then Don can put some of his visitor money in a campaign against it in the next election. Remember the voters of the peninsula have the last say.
Lloyd Schade, Homer
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