Letters to the Editor

Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Assembly acted correctly; sales tax change would have been unfair

Dear Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly members:

Your Dec. 10 vote on section 13D was a very encouraging sign that our Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly is really listening to its residents. Kenai River Professional Guide Association members were contacted by many KPB residents from Homer, Seward and Soldotna. These borough residents were very concerned with the KPB attempting to change its current sales tax structure. They were not only concerned with the attempted tax change but also with the discriminatory way the change was being focused on only some of our borough residents.

Our current borough sales tax paints with a very broad brush. As it helps support borough residents and businesses in general, it should therefore be collected with a general or broad brush. Ordinance 2002-39, Section 13D, attempted to retain current general tax spending but change general sales tax collection. Section 13D attempted to change KPB sales tax collection by targeting only the recreational industry for a sales tax increase.

John Nelson's comment ("Letters to the Editor," Dec. 15) that the KRPGA showed some kind of "in-river selfishness and irresponsibility" is truly an outragous comment. The KPB recreational sport fish industry currently pays its fair share of taxes just like all other KPB industries. To just wake up one day and decide that the recreational industry is not paying its fair share, with zero supporting facts, is a selfish and irresponsible comment.

John Nelson also states that KRPGA members are "pleased to drive their neighbors from the Kenai River or degrade its environment." I know of zero KRPGA members who are pleased to do any of these things.

I do know many KRPGA members who spend a lot of time and money taking their neighbors out fishing on the Kenai River. I do know that the KRPGA takes out about 100 local kids fishing on the Kenai River every year, for free, just to introduce them to the river. I do know of many KRPGA members who take out boat loads of our local vetarans of foreign wars on the Kenai River for free, just to introduce them to the Kenai River.

The KRPGA freely donates both time and money every year to help its neighbors experience the Kenai River. Most of these neighbors would never be able to see or fish the river. The KRPGA is making it possible for them to do so without them even paying for the gas or the effort.

I specifically challege John Nelson to match this list of "neighbors driven to the Kenai River" for free. Also, the KRPGA spends thousands of dollars helping improve the Kenai River environment. If Mr. Nelson wishes to compare expenditures between himself and the KRPGA, I am sure he will be the loser.

Nelson's comment that the KRPGA is "willing to make a mockery of the intent of the borough's tax code" only shows his lack of current and historic borough tax knowledge. The purpose of 2002-39 13D was to change our current general sales tax collection method into a new (industry specific) sales tax battering-ram. Section 13D was to be used to specifically attack only the recreational industry.

Our current KPB $25 sales tax cap was generated about 30 years ago as previous KPB assemblies attempted to help keep borough sales from leaving the borough because of excess KPB taxation.

This historic (general and capped) sales tax wisdom has proven its value with time. Section 13D attempted to revoke this historic tax wisdom and create a new and selective way to attack a single industry. Section 13D would have, in fact, created a mockery of this historic borough sales tax wisdom.

John Nelson's comment's have misrepresented both recent and historic borough sales tax events. Mr. Nelson has misrepresented both the KRPGA and KPB sales tax history.

My thanks goes to assembly members Merkes, Martin, Fisher, Davis and Long for listening to borough resident requests to retain our current, fair and general sales tax. Hopefully, these assembly members will be able to educate Moss, Glick, Superman and Sprague on borough sales tax history and general fairness.

People who misrepresent the facts or refuse to remember our tax history are doomed to repeat the failures within that history. History has taught us you only use discriminatory "industrial tax battering-rams" on industries you want to make go away. I don't believe we want our recreational industry to go away. If this message can be communicated to assembly member Moss, we may never again be forced to confront him over his latest idea, the "Moss industrial sales tax battering-ram."

Don Johnson

Soldotna

War on global terrorism only way to ensure world peace

"U.N. inspectors hunted for weapons of mass destruction at missile plants and nuclear complexes Sunday, while an unusual visitor -- Hollywood star Sean Penn -- spoke out in Baghdad against a U.S. attack and in support of the Iraqi people caught up in an international crisis." -- The Associated Press, Dec. 15

The people responsible for this problem are the Iraqis. They should have removed Saddam Hussein from power many years ago. Let them stew in their own juice.

This Sean Penn sounds a great deal like Jane Fonda and is a traitor to the people that died Sept. 11, 2001, in the Twin Towers terrorist attacks. Many good American's have died for freedom that this person enjoys.

Sean Penn is a stigma on the American way of life, cashing in on cheap publicity for making this statement. Let's throw the sucker out! We don't need movies that star him anyway. Better yet, let's leave him in Baghdad; he can be the next victim of the terrorists.

Peace is great, but we will not trade peace for American lives in this country. The future of America is only guaranteed by the removal of the terrorist networks throughout the world. Then we will have peace.

Raymond P. VinZant Sr.

Soldotna



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