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Open Letter: Borough Budget and Taxes
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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