Don't push the taxpayers
By Rodney Dial
December 29, 2006
A few thoughts on the Consolidation Election and local Government.
You may remember that in the
months leading up to the consolidation election the Save Ketchikan
Public Action Group was making the repeated claims that:
The proposed tax increases
were only due to consolidation, and
That our current two-government system offers protections to
If you have been following
the news lately we have been proven correct on both counts.
The City has recently announced that the mill rate for next year
will remain the same. As you may remember, per the consolidation
document Areawide taxes (City included) were projected to increase
by two mills under consolidation.
KDN has also been reporting on how the City and Borough have
been trying to alter the sales tax rules, exemptions, etc. As
you may have noticed this back and forth action between the two
governments has slowed the pace of change regarding increased
taxation and resulted in the City/Borough tabling their attempts
to increase the maximum about of sale subject to tax.
A few other positive points of light .
The cruise ship taxation initiative will take effect in January.
Although this is sure to be challenged in court, the Borough
stands to receive a significant amount of new, additional revenue
in 2007. Although there are restrictions on the use of this
revenue, the Borough should be able to make the case to use a
portion of this money to cover the nearly 1 million dollar annual
subsidy for local bus service. It may even be possible to offset
other expenses such as garbage, airport ferry, etc. It is up
to our elected officials to find creative ways to make this happen.
I would also like to point out to the local government officials
that there is nothing stopping you from consolidating the local
government services that you feel are redundant. As our group
mentioned many times leading up to the consolidation vote, you
do not need to consolidate governments in order to consolidate
local government services. Here is your chance to prove to the
public that you were not attempting to mislead them when you
pushed consolidation as a means of saving money. Get together
with each other, form a study group, look for areas to streamline,
consider contracting with each other to provide services and
recommend Memorandums of Agreement to share costs. If there
was a shred of truth to what you were saying, make it happen.
A few things that should happen
The will of the people needs to be respected, once and for all.
Consolidation has been voted upon, time and time again. If
voting means anything to you, then show some respect for the
results. Stop hiding behind the excuse that this latest attempt
at consolidation was somehow because of the voters. The last
attempt was started by the Chamber of Commerce, who made promises
that in the end never materialized. Will a Borough or City Official
of integrity please step up and propose an indefinite moratorium
on bringing this up again, please!
The City and Borough need to
work on eliminating wasteful spending. Recent examples include
100k employee wage study (City), Yearly 1 million subsidy for
bus service (Borough), and yearly funding of non-profits (both).
Use budget cuts and the new
revenue obtained from the Cruise Ship Tax Initiative to eliminate
sales tax on food and rent.
Do not retaliate against the
taxpayer for voting down consolidation, by raising taxes / fees.
If you push us, we will push back with a citizen initiative
to cap all taxes. We have obtained a copy of the tax cap initiative
from the Mat-Su Taxpayers association, and are prepared to draw
a line in the sand.
It's time for you to start caring more about those who pay taxes,
and a little less about those who live off them. As long as you
continue to fund fuel gulping buses driving around town with
virtually no one on them, you will never be able to cry We have
cut the budget to the bone . You would do far more public good
by eliminating sales tax on food, than you will ever do funding
public transportation. The public has spoken on Whitecliff and
Consolidation, now it's time for government to listen.
Received December 19, 2006 - Published December 29, 2006
About: "Someone who is
glad the consolidation vote is behind us."
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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