Letters to the Editor

Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2003

Change in gaming regulations would hurt local charities

All charities that depend on money raised through charitable gaming need to be aware of changes to the charitable gaming regulations proposed by Gov. Frank Murkowski.

These changes would cost local charities nearly 40 percent of the money available to the charities for use in their communities. House Bill 169 and Senate Bill 102 propose changing the current 3 percent tax on the ideal net (sales less prizes paid) of all pulltab sales to 5 percent of the gross pulltab sales. Since nearly 80 percent of gross sales are returned to the customers in prize money, this amounts to a 25 percent tax before any expenses are considered.

I know of no other industry that pays such a high tax. Using 2001 data available from the Department of Revenue Web site, the state's revenue from this change alone would be increased from $1.8 million to $13.7 million. That's nearly $12 million no longer available for use in our communities. This tax is in addition to the 1 percent tax paid on net profits of all charitable gaming.

The purpose of charitable gaming would no longer be to raise money for charities to use in their communities, instead the charities will be funding state government and working for Gov. Murkowski.

There will be a teleconference at 1:30 p.m. today regarding SB 102. All interested parties are urged to attend.

Karen Kester


Students need diverse courses, teachers with passion for subject

I am writing in response to the recent letters regarding Soldotna's Russian program. As a student at Soldotna High School, I studied Russian with Mr. Vaisenburg and continued to take Russian in college. Oregon is experiencing severe education cuts making the field of teaching extremely competitive. Knowing Russian gave me an edge which helped me acquire my teaching position.

While I agree with the importance of Russian language in a global society, I particularly want to acknowledge Grigori Vaisenberg's contribution to SoHi's Russian program. Mr. Vaisenberg offers a unique blend of enthusiasm, passion and Russian culture as well as providing the framework for the complex language.

As a teacher I know how difficult it can be to inspire students to want to learn. Students are often given information with no background or purpose for understanding that information. Mr. Vaisenberg adds vibrance and makes Russian culture come alive through his teaching, like only a true lover of the language and culture could do. His native roots and personal experience adds credibility to his passion and talent as a teacher.

Students need to have opportunity to take a diverse selection of courses, but they also need exceptional teachers to engage their minds and encourage them in the learning process.

Amanda Vogel


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