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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

An Open Letter to the Legislators, Councilmen and Assembly of Ketchikan

By Terri Wilson


March 27, 2017
Monday PM


Friday morning I read the article about changing the way you tax senior citizens, and I've had enough of the idiocy of the State of Alaska, City Council and the Borough Assembly! Every one of you should resign, get REAL PEOPLE in to make wise decisions -- like housewives who have to budget!

Regarding the proposed changes to the senior citizen tax, I personally don't know of any senior who purchases marijuana, I know few people who drink alcohol, but the cigarette tax issue is, for me, finally, over the top!

The article claims that since there is a shortfall in the State budget, which was NOT caused by the average or the senior citizen, but was caused by the idiots that spent more money than they had! This needs to be figured out WITHOUT causing more financial woes and worry to the poor people of this State and community! First, go to GAAP accounting and get rid of fund accounting. I have seen the computers and printers that have been thrown away at the dump, because depatments within the City and Borough want to get the same amount of money (or more) as last year.

STOP THIS MADNESS! I DON"T CARE if every government in this country uses Fund Accounting, it needs to stop. By the way, I now own one of the Borough's printers that was thrown away at the dump. It's great, runs as it should, and prints beautifully! There was no reason it needed to be replaced at the expense of the citizenry! Time for the State, city and Borough governments to budget for what is absolutely necessary, not keep up with the spending of the year before!

The State implemented a cigarette tax several years ago; however the City and Borough has implemented two (2) LARGE taxes within 6 months, over and above that of the State. Since a lot of people have quit smoking, in large part due to the taxed cost, this particular population sector is the smallest in the confines of this City/Borough. Consider the City/Borough, of which smokers are now a small part; you are killing this revenue stream; shortly it will NOT provide you with the money you so badly WANT (I did not use the term "need," because it's not a need, you people just want more money!

You ALWAYS want more money, and you haven't a clue as to how to spend it properly, i.e., the Tsunami Warning System (with all the islands in close proximity, I seriously doubt that Ketchikan will EVER have a tsunami), the testing of the system drives me crazy because it'd loud and unnecessary to do it more than twice a year, you can't even understand what is being said, and it's never tested on time (i.e. Saturdays at noon)! The expensive signage for the TOURISTS, nothing for the RESIDENTS, except what HAS to be done, such as new sewage pipes, replacing water pipes, patching holes in the pavement that are allowed to get so big they will swallow my car! And what about our Ketchikan-elected Legislator Daniel Ortiz who just OK'd a $137,000 chef for 90 DAYS, while the State is crying the blues over lack of funding?!?

I am sick to DEATH of having to live in Ketchikan! But because of the GREED FACTOR in this community, I can't afford to leave! A friend of mine was just in Craig, a pound of hamburger there was $1.98 a pound, HERE it's at minimum (on sale) at $3.98 a pound to $6.98 (not on sale), a pound. I lived in Craig where it generally cost more to ship there than here. What's the reason for the difference? GREED. I'm sick of hearing it's "shipping." I asked the Manager of Sea Mart (yes, I've been here forever) why I was paying $1.29 for a can of green beans when down south you could buy 4 cans for $1.00 , he said, "shipping." At the time I was paying 4¢ a pound to ship a ton of paper here, and I had no deal with the barge company like they did! At most I should have had to pay only 29¢ for that can of beans on sale!

Exhorbitant prices on goods, exhorbitant cigarette taxes, it's just plain GREED. I am the one who coined the phrase "greed factor" when I moved to Ketchikan in 1986. I've seen it with vendors (you know who you are!). On your web site you brag "The City of Ketchikan boasts an award-winning Finance Department that provides accurate, timely and reliable accounting, budgeting and financial services to all departments of General City Government and Ketchikan Public Utilities. In serving the departments and divisions well, the Finance Department in turn provides the public with the highest level of integrity-driven service possible...operating in accordance with the most current state and federal accounting standards. " This is fund accounting wherein each Department or Division gives it's estimate of required funds for the coming year. However, they may be permitted to have the money they ask for, but the followinh year they will ask for that amount or more, because if it's not spent, it goes back to the general fund.

Some of you (coucilmembers and assemblymen) have compared rate of these taxes to what Anchorage has done, as though that makes it OK. I repeat, I am not living in Anchorage, nor do I care to, it's bad enough living here! This is Ketchikan, NOT Anchorage! We do without enough in this community because we live in Alaska, and while there are many more poor people here than you realize, maybe some of you more wealthy people on the Council and Assembly can DONATE FUNDS to your City and Borough without taxing its citizens to death!

I personally object to your deciding to institute a tax on such a small segment if the comunity, along with fact that the money is not earmarked for anything specific. We, as smokers, have the RIGHT to know where the taxes are spent, not that they just go into a "general fund" for you idiots to spend as you please! Leave the seniors and smokers ALONE!

I am informing you, City and Borough, that I am instituting a call for the repeal of your already imposed, exhorbitant cigarette taxes. I will make sure petitions are available at several locations in town. In addition, I ask for a permanent MORATORIUM on discussion or passing of any such further tax to a select group of people, and senior citzens have a right to have their State provided tax-exempt status left alone, for whatever they buy!

Teri J. Wilson
Ketchikan, Alaska

Received March 23, 2017 - Published March 27, 2017


Related News:

Boro talks senior taxes By NICK BOWMAN, Daily News Staff Writer - With the state budget crisis creeping into local municipal budgets, more attention is being put on the millions of dollars in tax exemptions enjoyed by senior citizens statewide. - Read this article (subscription required)...
March 25, 2017 - Ketchikan Daily News



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