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Senior population good for borough

Posted: January 23, 2014 - 10:32am

What I found most disturbing regarding the borough’s proposed ordinance to raise taxes on some resident seniors was the lack of justification for increasing the taxation for this group. Sure, many seniors can afford to pay more, but why should they be targeted for tax increases? 

Seniors benefit our borough. Local seniors contribute to borough sales tax revenue. All local residents benefit, not only by their presence and the life experience that they share with us, but by the economic benefits that we all gain when they spend their money in the borough. 

In the past, our borough assembly supported an unlimited property tax exemption for our seniors. This enlightened act retained many seniors and attracted many more.  I find it disturbing when our current local politicians now find taxing local seniors the most attractive alternative for balancing their budget. 

Statistics show a growing senior population here. I believe that’s good for our community. 

Mayor Navarre introduced the ordinance and assembly members Bill Smith, Brent Johnson, Hal Smalley and Mako Haggarty voted to reduce seniors’ exemptions. The good news is there were five assembly members that voted to preserve them. Our borough should consider the benefits of providing tax relief for seniors. 

If the borough assembly wants to fix something, then let the people vote to restore the unlimited property tax exemption for all local seniors. We should go back to the day that we welcomed seniors and should encourage people to retire in our community. 

I believe this change would be in our best interests. 

James Price 

Nikiski

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kearbear
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kearbear 01/25/14 - 04:14 am
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I couldn't agree with you more

I couldn't agree with you more. The Senior exemption attracts Seniors to stay in Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula in particular, where Seniors spend their estates down. Many Seniors are supplementing their SS with a reverse mortgage in order to meet the demands of the high cost of living in Alaska. Energy costs being astronomical.

Seniors spend and create jobs by hiring contractors, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, to build their retirement homes. Seniors qualify after reaching 65 years and the exemption disappears when the Senior passes away or sells the home when life becomes too difficult. Taxes are then reassessed on the home at full value. Taxes collected on a home, that in all likely hood would not have been built, if it wasn't for the Senior incentive to build in the first place. If the Senior qualifying for the exemption was a resident of long duration, the Senior paid taxes at full value all those previous years. The Senior exemption is a temporary exemption offered as an incentive to encourage Senior residents to stay and spend their retirement incomes in the State.

Without this incentive many Seniors could no longer afford to stay and will spend their life savings elsewhere. Thus, states like Florida and Texas, attract millions of retirees as Seniors migrate to these other income tax free States with warmer climates. Keep Seniors in Alaska. Welcome them to KPB.

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