Ask your assembly member why

Posted: Friday, July 14, 2006

The Kenai Borough Assembly claims to be moving against the senior exemption in the interest of fairness to all homeowners. To avoid being hypocrites, the assembly needs to close other loopholes that cause homeowners to bear an unfair share of the cost of borough government.

Why should homeowners subsidized commercial fishing boats, other commercial boats, yachts, and airplanes? About eight years ago, assemblyman Drathsman of Homer pushed through a tax break for owners of commercial boats, yachts and airplanes. They used to have to pay taxes based on value — just as homeowners do now on their homes. They now pay only a nominal fee. In order to keep the borough revenue up, this same bill increased the borough fees on all motor vehicles. Homeowners took a double hit.

This Drathsman deal put nominal fees on all those big yachts and sailboats moored in Homer and Seward. Why should Kenai Peninsula homeowners subsidize these expensive toys of out-of-state and non-peninsula residents? The Anchorage owner of that $300,000 boat pays a few hundreds while the local homeowner pays several thousands on the assessor inflated value of their home. Ask your assembly person why.

Homeowners, why should you subsidize those commercial interests who come here in the summer to make a year’s income from tourists then flee to warmer climes? If it is bad for a senior to leave for the worse of the winter, it is far worse for the grab the money and run interests whose money earning assets you subsidize with your real estate taxes. Where is the fairness?

The hugely profitable oil industry is constantly asking for tax breaks on its properties. For every tax break they get, the burden on the homeowner has to rise. Tell your assembly person: no more tax breaks for Big Oil that you end up having to pay. Why should you subsidized the billions of dollars of retirement benefits of the retired CEOs of Big Oil? Who does your assembly person represent, you or them?

There will be others coming to the borough wanting big tax breaks. Homeowners tell your assembly no more tax breaks.

Tell you assembly person to not stop with just beating up on seniors. Go after the all the loopholes that let the biggies get away with the benefits that you have to pay increased real estate taxes to subsidize.

William Phillips


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