De-funding tourism council a bad idea

Posted: Thursday, April 07, 2011

Reference your editorial of Friday, April 1 ('What can we do without?'). Considering the date, was it an April Fool's joke, or were you really serious?

I am referencing your suggestion that the Borough assembly not fund the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council for one year and see what happens. I find that a very sad suggestion. Wait a year and lose how many businesses? Or ask the businesses that are struggling because of the economy to come up with more money to support them, when they generously collect borough sales taxes every year?

During my tenure on the assembly, the then assembly voted to implement the per person, per day sales tax on all recreation packages. There was considerable concern about that tax, that it could drive tourists away. I know the first time it came up for a vote, I voted no. But, the second time I did support it, because I felt that was an excellent way to support the marketing council and the good work it does. Why shouldn't a very small portion of that sales tax it helps generate not go back to the council to continue its work of bringing tourists to the Peninsula?

Likewise, if the tourist numbers go down even more, so do the sales tax dollars. Why is the mayor now asking to rescind the voter supported sales tax on foods? Is it perhaps because lower tourist numbers meant lower sales taxes?

It is my hope you will reconsider your opinion.

Milli Martin, Homer

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