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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Ketchikan Deserves to Know the Truth

By Dan Bockhorst


September 15, 2022

The Pew Research Center reports that 64% of adults in America say it’s “hard to tell the difference between what is true and not true when they hear elected officials.”

One borough official claims, “there have been no tax rate increases for borough government” for six years.

That’s not true. Just last year, the assembly increased the property tax mill rate. This year, the tax was kept at the elevated rate. Consequently, the borough will collect an additional $630,000 in taxes from homeowners, businesses, and other property owners.

Further, sales taxes were added to big-ticket items costing between $1,000 and $2,000 such as cars, appliances, boat motors, heat pumps, furnaces, and furniture. The lucrative excise tax on cigarettes was also extended. Additionally, the assembly enacted a tax on internet sales. It also imposed a so-called “special sales tax” on marijuana.

Further, the assembly drained millions of dollars from the education fund reserves. Deficit spending, such as occurred here, is just another form of taxation. Now that reserves are depleted, one assembly member is pushing for a $1.2 million annual tax for education.

Borough assessment rolls swelled by $225 million. The borough upped the taxable value of the average home by more than $37,500. Yet, there was no corresponding reduction in property tax rates. Just the opposite, the impact of the rise in the taxable value of homes and businesses was compounded by the tax-rate hike noted above.

Tax increases far outpaced inflation and didn’t reflect the 8.5% drop in student enrollment or the decline in the general population.

All the above occurred within the six-year timeframe cited by the borough official. It’s important for elected officials to acknowledge their actions and defend or explain them. Let’s not be among those who find it hard to tell the difference between what is true and not true when we hear our elected officials. When citizens lose trust in their government, they become indifferent. When they become indifferent, they don’t vote.

Four out of five registered voters in Ketchikan didn’t vote in the last borough election. Enough said.

Dan Bockhorst
Ketchikan, Alaska




Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.

Opinions expressed are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Sitnews.

Received September 15, 2022 - Published JSeptember 15, 2022

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