Letters to the Editor

Posted: Friday, March 21, 2003

Some suggestions, observations on filling state's budget gap

This is an open letter to all Alaska state politicians. Why do most of you consider penalizing Alaska residents through taxation school tax, state sales tax, state income tax, taking from the permanent fund or raising vehicle tax? After all, Alaska is already a high cost place to live when you look at the price of food, clothing, fuel, electric power, snow removal, etc.

Why doesn't the state get its tax dollars from the tourists? They seem to have lots of money and take out lots of resources (fish and game).

As an old-timer on a fixed income, let me give you some suggestions for raising money.

1. An airport tax of $5 per person to fly out of all airports in the state.

2. A car rental tax I paid $71.35 in tax for seven days at Sea-Tac in December 1999; I also paid $139.62 in tax for 20 days in Hawaii in January 2000. I am sure it's way more now.

3. A cruise ship tax of $100 per person collected at time of ticket purchase.

4. An RV tax either a flat rate per size of RV or so much per day. Collect the fee at the Tok trooper station. Very little cost to collect.

5. A railroad tax of $10 per person to ride the train.

6. An RV rental Tax of $50 per day to rent an RV.

7. A state hotel-motel bed tax of $5 per night.

8. An RV park tax of $5 per day.

9. A guide boat-charter boat-rental boat tax of $5 per day per person.

10. Nonresident hunting and fishing license fees should be raised.

11. Nonresident hunting, fishing and charter boat guide license fees should be raised.

12. An aircraft and helicopter flightseeing tour tax.

13. A tax on Kenai Fjords and all other sea cruises of $5 per person.

14. A Whittier tunnel tax of $2 per person.

15. A tour bus tax of $10 per person.

16. An Alaska ferry system tourist tax.

17. A state park tourist tax.

18. A river float trip tax of $5 per person.

19. A fish tax of $25 per 70-pound box and $15 per 50-pound box shipped out on any air carrier, collected by the air carrier and turned over to the state. This would help control the outsiders from coming to Alaska during the summer, catching boxes of fish, sending them to the Lower 48, then selling fish or trading fish for beef steak during the winter. The cases of canned salmon and the freezers full of frozen salmon hauled to the Lower 48 in RVs could be collected for on checkout at the Tok trooper station.

20. State sales tax yes, we could have a 5 percent tax. When an Alaska state resident shows their drivers license or Alaska ID they are not charged the sales tax. This would collect tax from the outsiders.

21. Tourism. I believe they are asking for $14 million this year. Ridiculous! Why should our tax dollars go to pay to advertise tourism. Let them get all their money from the people that make their living on tourists. After all RVers-tourists pay very little for the use of our roads, water, sewer and landfill use. They bring most of their needs with them. It's too expensive up here.

22. School cuts Why is it that every time the state talks about cutting school funding, the first thing the superintendent says is we'll have to cut teachers? Why don't they cut administration and office help?

23. Longevity What a slap in the face to the old-timers in Alaska, all 18,000 of them. I cannot believe the new governor would even consider something like this. Would the governor, senators and representatives in Juneau take a $250 cut per month?

24. If any of this interests you, call the governor, senators and representatives.

Earl Miller, Soldotna

Faith takes many forms; tolerance is defining virtue of Christianity

I am inspired to respond to Mark Reed's interesting letter to the editor published St. Patrick's Day.

How can a person as shallow and intolerant as yourself dare to call yourself a Christian? A true Christian will not become arrogant of his own beliefs. Who are you (God?) to tell anyone that their creed is wrong?

Every person on Earth is an individual with their own spiritual needs, therefore, one religion can't fulfill all.

And, since we are all different, God is interpreted in many different ways. Because of this, faith comes in many forms, one no more righteous than the other. Are you so blinded by arrogance that you can't see God in everything? In essence, all religions are the same.

Of course, there are radicals. Muslim radicals twist the words of the Quran (the Islam holy book of the Prophet Mohammed's teachings) to justify their murders. The true religion of Islam embraces peace and disdains violence. Most Muslims are true believers, while only a handful are terrorists who "hijack a jet airliner and use it to annihilate 3,000 innocent souls."

I hope that you can recognize the difference between the radical and the true, flush your prejudiced stereotype from your mind and realize tolerance is a defining virtue of Christianity.

Bethany Swenson, Kasilof

All differences aside, groups should work to enhance early run of kings

If it weren't so deja vu for commercial fishermen it would be almost laughable to hear guides say that they shouldn't be restricted on the early run of kings because it would hurt the economy of the Kenai Peninsula.

The same guides pushed for restrictions on the commercial fisheries in July which, in turn, devastated the economy of the peninsula by causing the closure of canneries and the loss of hundreds of jobs. These restrictions were for allocation of fish to nonresident sport fishermen. The proposed restrictions on guides are for saving the early run of kings. Quite a difference.

If the guides were really concerned about the economy they would help commercial fishermen regain the season on the early Russian River reds, which are not a fish guides are hired to catch anyway. Imagine if we competed with the Copper River reds in May. How many jobs would that provide for local people? What a boost for the economy!

That aside, let's enhance the early run of kings until they have recovered. The aquaculture association can do it.

Steve Vanek, Ninilchik

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