Property value increases excessive
By Tyrell Rettke
January 23, 2007
I just want to start out by saying, I agree with the majority
of people that I've heard from that these new Ketchikan property
value increases are quite excessive. I am posting this letter
only to put a bit of correction and perspective into your letter
" With all the money coming
in from the New Cruise Ship Tax - which we passed - and the yearly
sales tax generated by locals and hoards of tourists spending
all the money they do in this town generating bags & bags
of tax money, why do our government officials think that WE,
the tax-paying year-round residents can afford another TAX INCREASE?
Wasn't the cruise-tax suppose to offset the need to OVER-TAX
Someone mentioned a Property Tax-Cap. I second that idea!"
For starters, "We",
being Alaska, did pass this bill. However, "we" being
South East Alaska, did not. It failed horribly here, because
we are the only area that can harbor cruise ships. The bulk
of the population, unfortunately, lives up north in Anchorage
and surrounding areas, where it was able to accumulate enough
votes to pass.
Now the underlying problem with that tax: The cities do not
get it, as we used to with our own taxes we had (head taxes and
the like). It all goes to the state, where each city (including
those who don't have multi million dollar docks and cruise ship
infrastructures to support), has to lobby for money. So, I will
be guessing that it will be a net loss for Ketchikan, and probably
all of southeast.
Secondly, sales tax. It is true that we have more people coming
to Ketchikan than, say, 20 years ago. The over all dollar amount
spent is up, but not proportionately to the number of people
that are now coming. Long story short? Each person is spending
less money. These new cruises are cheaper, and are occupied
not by the affluent and well to do people like the hay days of
tourism, but by newly weds, single people, and retired people
who have scrimped and saved for this trip for years, and aren't
willing to spend much more than a few bucks here and there.
The other problem is that the figures we get from the market
research firms are totals. Meaning if I come through Ketchikan
on a cruise ship and spend 25 dollars on food for the day, and
150 dollars at the cruise ship owned and operated tour, it says
I've spent 175 dollars, when in fact only the 25 dollars is taxed
in Ketchikan, because they presell almost all the tours on board
the ship before reaching the dock, and avoid the extra 2.5 -
6 %. (On top of taking 40% cuts from local tours). So, you
see Tax revenues are down. And this year saw a drop in regular
revenue as well because of scheduling issues. The ships come
in early, shuffle people onto tours, and get back with little
time to shop, so they get on board the ship instead.
Many business owners already have seen this, especially those
who are not on Front St. or on the docks. Things down town looked
bleak this year folks. Just talking with other business people
downtown, 30-40% drops in revenue was a common number. Even
if that number is only half true, a 15-20% drop in revenue for
a business that can only take a 10% margin and still be competitive
is murder on the wallet.
Things are looking bleak folks. I didn't mean to end up at this
point with this letter, but oh well, here it goes...
We need a new industry, something that does not require resources,
does not create a draw on the community. Not a retail store that
employs people, yes, but sends 60% + of it's take to others to
buy new products. We need an Information Industry.
If we had a fiber optic link to the world (which for some reason
KPU decided we didn't need... thanks guys.) we could invite companies
like IBM, Boeing, Microsoft, etc, to have offices here for employees
who would rather live in a small town, close to nature, etc.
This is a common thing for companies as large as this, as it
promotes employee loyalty and ensures longer lasting employees.
We also need to expand the resources we have. We can't touch
the forests or turn over a rock, of course (all is well, Al,
Bill). But we have vast ocean resources that we can harvest,
with out even depleting the naturally occurring stocks. I'm
talking about shell fish, crab, and geoducks. The state seems,
though, to be fighting those who are trying to responsibly promote
and invest in these areas in many ways. I won't get any further
into it, as I've already digressed so far. Please contact any
geoduck diver for more information on this.
Back to my main point. This town is in for a hard few years
I think. This is, of course, my own opinion, based on what I
have seen, learned in history, and see first hand. I hope that
the people we have elected to power locally will take heart and
listen to the small business people in town, as we, like it or
not, have a pretty good pulse on what's going on in the city.
Thanks for listening.
Received January 23, 2007 - Published January 23, 2007
About: " Ketchikan Resident
for 16 years, local business owner, avid ney sayer."
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
Tax Hike & the Cruise Ship Tax By Dan McQueen - Ketchikan,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
Send A Letter -------Read
E-mail the Editor at
Stories In The News