SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Sales Tax
By Justin Carro


February 03, 2009
Tuesday PM

I noticed a lot of discussion about sales tax lately. Taxes are an unfortunate part of life and though necessary to run the parts of our government most of us appreciate. However, one thing that we need to keep in mind is that we have nearly the highest sales tax rates in the state. Let that sink in just a bit -- highest sales tax rates in the state, because that is exactly what we will have if we raise them at all. This is counter-productive to keeping our position as a regional hub.

There are some things we could and should do to our tax system to help it, but in my opinion at this time, raising them is certainly not among them. Perhaps lowering it and removing the cap would accomplish what we want, but then the sales tax cap could not be used as a marketing tool with the tourist to do their large purchases here. Even though in the past I have supported a seasonal increase in the past, upon further reflection I do not think that it would actually help us more than it would hurt us.

I for one am for getting every dollar I can out of the tourists, yet I prefer it was the old-fashioned way through basic commerce. Oppression takes place when someone's liberties are restricted and they are forced to do something they would otherwise not do. When we force the visitors to pay us more and more eventually, they will stop coming. As recently as last week, one of the lines decided to redeploy one of their ships (a money ship at that) to a more lucrative route. Continuing to promote the passage of anti visitor laws rules and regulations will only act as a negative catalyst to an already touchy situation. Might as well slap someone on the back when they have sunburn.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't take advantage of the resource that is there, but no need to kill the golden goose. Taxes are like poison in society, in small increments it can be tolerated, but eventually many small doses can become toxic and when it comes to taxes, the government will always push the envelope as far as it thinks it can. If you don't believe me let me just say it one more time for your consideration -- highest sales tax rates in the state.

Taxes by their very nature are oppressive so one could infer that we have one of the most oppressive sales tax systems in the state. To support more taxes is to support greater oppression of a system that needs to be scaled back not pushed forward. Supporting greater sales tax increases during a time of economic crisis, which is a regressive tax to begin with, hurts the poorest of the poor and oppresses them the most, those that need the most help. Instead of helping them you would have us kick them while they are down and need our help the most.

If anything let's have an off-season reduction in sales tax by .5% each from the borough and city for a 1% break for winter months. How about a reduction on Rent Tax, another repressive tax, which is usually not found in other places, or an exemption of food, which is commonplace in most of the rest of the country?

The needs of society will never and can never be met completely for when those needs are fulfilled others will take there place and there are always more good causes then there is ever enough funding. In today's society we have far exceeded our mandate set by our forefathers. When we provide for the "General Welfare" of society, we are supposed to temper that with Liberty, Freedom, and the Pursuit of Happiness the basic principles of being able to do what you want. The more we tax the more the government has to provide and the less the people can afford to provide for themselves. Though intentions may be good, the end results are still the same.

Justin Carro
Ketchikan, AK

About: "Local resident, parent, business owner and political enthusiast"

Received February 01, 2009 - Published February 03, 2009



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