Open Letter: Borough Budget
by Robert D. Warner
June 04, 2004
Mr. David Landis, Ketchikan Borough Assembly
Dear Mr. Landis:
I don't like to write blunt letters, but sometimes they are needed.
Your recent actions and comments related to the Borough budget
and taxes are wrong. We do not have a revenue problem in Ketchikan
government; we have a spending problem. You folks on the Assembly
need to cut government and voice a firm no to proposed tax increases.
I appreciate the work of the Assembly in hiring a fine Borough
manager a year or two ago. Why don't you listen to him when
he recommends the elimination of ALL grants to non profit special
interest groups and freezing spending on education at last year's
levels? Please also consider cutting back the Borough amount
paid to the Ketchikan Public Library each year. Such action
might encourage the city to do the same and reduce library spending/staff
to reasonable levels that the community can afford.
The Assembly is always going to face large groups of good minded
citizens pushing hard for their special interest grants; they
will always pressure for this or whine about that. It takes
courage to say "no."
This vote on a sales tax increase is also presented to voters
in the wrong way. If we vote "no" on the increase
we will be threatened with major property tax increases. On
the other hand, if it passes we will likely still have a property
tax increase anyway. Many Ketchikan citizens will shift more
shopping to stores in the lower 48. Merchants trying to stay
in business need to be considered too.
After significant cuts are made, we can then make better decisions
on what is needed to fund the basics of local government at more
reasonable levels. Businesses will have improved opportunities
to increase sales and collect more sales tax revenue.
Seems like there was a U.S. President who once said: "Read
my lips; no new taxes." When he broke that pledge, voters
gave him a early retirement. When are you going to find courage
to support taxpayers? Many cannot afford to pay more!
Robert D. Warner
Ketchikan, AK - USA
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