With the Kenai Peninsula Borough municipal election days away, Gary Superman is focusing on a theme he says is a cornerstone of his campaign that raising the borough sales tax one percent was a good idea.
The general public has basic services they want local government to provide, Superman said, listing waste disposal, public safety, education and roads as examples.
“They want those services,” he said. “That’s how we continue to deliver those services.”
The borough had a budget crisis this year and the assembly’s decision to raise the sales tax was the best way to ensure services are still met, he said.
“My message is, I was part of the solution,” Superman said about his vote on the assembly to raise the sales tax.
Superman sees a ballot proposition that would roll back that sales tax increase as a step backward for the borough. He said he will vote against it.
If the proposition passes?
“There will be tradeoffs,” he said. “Those tradeoffs will be painful.”
A general sales tax is the best way to fairly distribute the tax burden among the residents, he said.
“You’re not picking on a certain group,” he said.
Superman said he has a philosophical aversion to property taxes and is more driven by the “sales tax philosophy.”
He said he thinks the senior property tax exemption system should be reformed although it should not go away.
Right now, this system costs the borough about $3 million per year in lost revenue, he said.
There needs to be residency requirements for new people coming into the program, he said. The borough needs to expand the amount of time seniors have to spend on the peninsula to qualify for that exemption, he said.
Because Superman said he believes in fair taxation, he also does not support a ballot proposition creating a bed tax on short-term room rentals, such as a hotel or motel.
“I don’t think that the borough needs to play the operative as being the pass-through of those collected revenues back to the cities,” he said.
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