Anyone looking for a way to spend their tax rebate check needs to look no further than the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District. The EDD has a few suggestions -- 100 of them, to be exact.
For the EDD, the rebate is a way to boost the local economy. An estimated $6 million will be distributed to Kenai Peninsula residents over the next few months, said EDD Executive Director Betsy Arbelovsky.
The EDD hopes that residents will use their rebates to make new purchases of goods and services from local merchants.
"If people want more and better services on the Kenai Peninsula, they need to use local merchants that go the extra mile to put back into the economy," said Randy Daly, president of the EDD board of directors.
"If I buy clothes from a mail-order company, (it) isn't going to stand there and ask me about my kids; they're not going to make sure they have my size in stock," he said.
"The way to grow quality of life is to actively pursue local companies who are active in the community," Daly said.
Some ideas about how to do this include taking a glacier hiking adventure or learning how to make stained glass. Other options might be visiting an area dentist or hiring a housekeeper.
According to a poll taken by abcnews.com, most Americans have less exciting plans for their rebates. The results state that 7 out of 10 Americans will not make new purchases with the money.
Bills will be paid by 34 percent of the respondents, and another 30 percent will save or invest the money. Only 15 percent of people with annual incomes of less than $20,000 intend to spend the rebate, while 32 percent of those with incomes more than $75,000 will.
On the peninsula, however, several people have stated that they plan to make improvements to their homes and yards, Arbelovsky said.
Other, perhaps unexpected, outcomes of the rebate include the formation of groups interested in improving the look of the community. One such group is scheduled to meet Aug. 8 at the Soldotna City Hall.
The idea is that people can make their own community more attractive to live and do business in by donating items such as trees or benches. It is even possible to donate paint for fire hydrants.
"The tax rebate isn't enough to pay off the house or the car or even make a dent in my credit card bill, so you could go visit the area," EDD Community Coordinator Linda Story said.
Daly had similar suggestions.
"An extra 300 bucks can do some of those things that you always hear about tourists doing that we've never done," he said.
As for himself, Daly has already decided what he will do with his rebate.
"I'm gonna go get myself a new suit," he said.
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