By Agnes Moran
June 18, 2012
The federal government owns 96.5% of the land within the boundaries of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. Other non-taxable entities (e.g., State of Alaska) own 3.2% of the land in the Borough. That leaves a mere three-tenths of one percent of the land in Ketchikan that is subject to property taxes.
The Borough levies $7,804,025 in property taxes on the tiny fraction of land in Ketchikan that is taxable. Those taxes help fund our schools, the Ketchikan Library, fire protection, emergency medical services, road maintenance, and other vital services.
On a per-acre basis, local property taxpayers bear a financial burden that is more than 240,000 times greater than the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes contribution by the federal government.
Given the current federal fiscal predicament, I would happily trade a PILT payment for more accommodating and reasonable federal land use policies. Restrictive policies in place in the Tongass National Forest (e.g., the Roadless Rule ) impede economic development, shrink jobs, and hurt families by limiting responsible use of our lands.
Don't bribe us with a PILT to keep federal lands fallow. Rescind the Roadless Rule. Give us access to our resources, our timber, mineral and water rights.
Give us access to develop our resources responsibly, to build our economic base and provide a future for our children.
About: "Concerned local resident"
Received June 16, 2012 - Published June 18, 2012
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