SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Initiatives vs. Incentives
By Laura Lowell


August 31, 2007
Friday PM

Dear Editor,

I have followed with attention the debate over the jewelry store initiative. It seems that all sides agree that there is an overabundance of jewelry stores in Ketchikan. Therefore step one is complete, we have identified the problem. Step two gets more tricky because of all of those darn choices. The proponents of the initiative have excercised their rights to propose a solution. However, mom always said, you get more bees with honey than you do with vinegar. I never tested it, scared of bees.

Restriction based actions, the vinegar, have the ability to yeild the desired result. I don't like what your doing and I'm going to stop you. Restrictive actions also breed resentment, revolt, and place the restricted in a defensive position. Then the real issues actually take a side step to the new center ring attraction, mud slinging, name calling, miss-assumed quoting debates and mistrust.

I tend to look for win-win solutions, double the honey so to speak. Create a set of incentives that naturaly leads to less 'undesirable' business saturations.

Establish a desired business model set for the area, a list of types of businesses that are essential to a well rounded wide set revenue base, from ice cream parlors and doctors, to rigging shops, tourism and sushi, quite simply, jewelry stores just wouldn't be on the list. Businesses who's primary goods or services are on the list, allowed a small rebate from their sales taxes. New entreprenuers would naturally select from the most adventagous business types and the revenue base then diversifies.

Building owners who rent to shops that are open year round get a small reduction in property taxes, and if your renter is only here for the summer then you pay a little more. We either get more property tax or more sales tax revenue. The stores that don't have a market in the winter time would either have to difersify or perhaps move on.

Shops which 'close' for extended periods pay a closure penalty. Local stores who are open all year get one free garbage pickup. Business owners who actually LIVE in Ketchikan all year and have their shops open, use of the rec center, library etc. gratis.

Can incentives like this work? How would one propose these kinds of changes or, am I really missing the boat each idea itself frought with pitfalls?

Thank you,

Laura Lowell
Ketchikan, AK

Received August 30, 2007 - Published August 31, 2007

About: "Lifelong Resident"


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