Demand tax fairness
By Rodney Dial
October 12, 2017
Here is the easiest way to understand this issue…
If the State of Alaska treated Ketchikan citizens in the same manner as citizens on every island around us (and in 170 other Alaskan communities) we would have no local borough property tax and could run the borough on sales tax revenue alone.
If you own a home your entire borough property tax is used to satisfy the State mandated “Required Local Contribution (RLC) Tax”. This is a State tax ONLY imposed on incorporated areas like Ketchikan. It is why our homes cost more, why rent costs more, why the goods and services you purchase locally cost more. You pay this tax each month in your mortgage payment and it is passed on to renters in the form of higher rent costs. If you own an average home in Ketchikan, this tax costs you thousands per year. So when someone say you pay no State taxes, feel free to correct them. Ketchikan families pay millions in State taxes each year and have for a very long time.
Next time you visit Prince of Wales Island, drive down Port Saint Nick road and look at the many expensive homes, some exceeding $1 million in value. These homes, which start just 2 miles from the Craig School pay no RLC tax. Because these homes and businesses in 170 other Alaskan communities also pay no State RLC taxes, your taxes are higher and your share of the upcoming State fiscal plan (new taxes) will amount to your share plus extra for the areas that pay nothing.
This disparity significantly hampers the competitive ability of our businesses, makes future business investments less likely, raises our local cost of living, makes it more expensive for our elders to retire here and amounts to discriminatory treatment of our citizens.
A great example is how a fishing lodge/resort on the north end (Ketchikan) pays thousands per year in taxes while competing lodges on POW pay nothing.
This is why I opposed Rep. Ortiz’s attempts to impose an income tax this year. The ONLY leverage we have as a community to demand fairness BEFORE a tax like a State income tax. If a State income tax comes first, we will likely never achieve tax parity with other communities and our citizens will pay an ever increasing share of the cost of State government.
Please help us convince Rep. Ortiz to fight for tax fairness for our community first… then we can have a discussion on new state taxes we all share.
Received October 11, 2017 - Published October 12, 2017
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