FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Tanana Valley Conference of Churches, in an unusual move for the ecumenical association, is preparing a statement detailing objections to the statewide 10-mill tax cap initiative.
''There comes a time when you need to speak for people who may not be able to speak for themselves,'' said Rev. Murray Richmond of the University Community Presbyterian Church. ''Those are the people we think would be the most hurt by this tax cap.''
The conference unanimously passed a motion at its Sept. 7 meeting to go on record with its concerns about the ballot measure.
A formal pastoral letter, speaking to the issues involved, is being drafted and will be voted on at the organization's October meeting. TVCC's membership is about a dozen local churches, whose representatives meet to foster communication and activities.
The statewide tax cap proposal, on the November ballot, would limit property taxes to 10 mills and assessment increases to a maximum of 2 percent a year.
Richmond said he was worried about the impact on education, the bus system and the library.
Rev. Montie Slusher of St. Michael's Episcopal Church also mentioned potential cutbacks in community-sponsored activities for local youth.
''If you don't have a good outlet for their activities, you're going to have more problems,'' he said.
The Rev. Al Levitre of St. Nicholas Catholic Church in North Pole said it is appropriate for community spiritual leaders to make a statement on the cap.
''Our argument would be that it's much more than a political issue,'' he said. ''This would have an impact on real people's lives. It could be quite devastating for some in the community.''
Karl Schroeder, a local proponent of the cap, said alternative revenue sources could be found for needed services.
''Because of the press, and the fear mongering, everybody thinks this is no more money for anything,'' Schroeder said.
Schroeder suggested possible tourism taxes and new state fees. If voters want a sales tax, he added, it would likely be crafted to avoid hurting those with low incomes.
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