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Grassroots Effort: Mat-Su Borough Tax Cap
Initiative Tops 4,300 Signatures


May 17, 2005


Wasilla, Alaska - Mat-Su Residents fed up with astronomical property tax increases have collected more than 4,300 signatures representing about one third of the voters for an initiative petition for a borough wide tax cap in a pure grassroots effort. According to the Mat-Su Taxpayers Association, no money was spent on the signature gathering effort. To place the question on the ballot for the Mat-Su Borough October 2005 Election, 1,788 valid signatures are needed.
In a news release announcing the results of the petition effort, the Mat-Su Taxpayers Association said poor residents, working folks, businessmen, 18 year olds in entry level jobs and some of the oldest original settlers in the Valley lined up by the thousands to sign the petition, 72 citizens from Sutton to Talkeetna labored without pay to gather more than 4300 signatures. Volunteeers ranged in age from 87 to 18.

People struggling to raise their families in cabins, trailers and older homes, and retirees were hardest hit by huge tax increases, some as high as 76%. Borough operating budget increases approaching 60% over three years grossly exceeded any combination of rational economic or population growth indicators including the Mat-Su Borough's own economic analysis. Had the tax cap been in effect for this year, Borough budget revenue increase would have been about 6% said the Association.
The tax cap will effect only Borough wide taxes and not Road and Fire Service areas among some other exceptions. A Borough wide sales tax, if passed, would also fall under the tax cap further reducing the burden property owners bear by forcing down the mil rate. The tax cap will not effect property values, just the amount that value is taxed.

Quoting Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development, State Assessors Office and the US Census as sources, Mat-Su Taxpayers Association said the increases in taxes approximately 3 times as large as the 6.3% increase in MLS sales value averages during the previous three years (ADN, Jan 25, 2004) were matched by 300-1000% increases in planning and platting fees! Tai-Chi classes and Willow Chair making classes are not essential services!
The overused excuse for these budget increases has been growth in the Valley said the Mat-Su Taxpayers Association. With two robust years of growth, *7.5% in 2002 and 10% in 2003, Valley growth for 2004 dropped back down to it's pre 2002 numbers at 3.5% and is now growing slower than the entire Pacific West Coast demographic at *4%. Demographers estimate average annual Mat-Su growth to continue at 3.5%. Mat-Su average annual growth rate during the 80's was *12%, three times today's growth rate.
Tax Cap Sponsors will deliver the petitions to the Mat-Su Borough Clerk's Office today at 2pm.



Source of News:

Mat-Su Taxpayers Association


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