CBJ – the land of unintended tax consequences

If you are a senior and on a low fixed income, watch out! The City and Borough of Juneau is going to reduce your lifestyle even further. As proposed, the “new” senior tax exemption program will hurt you a lot. Why is that you say? Well, you and your new senior tax exemption card will only be able to buy food to be prepared at home: nothing at a deli section of a grocery store subscribing to the SNAP program. All the necessities of life will NOT be covered at the store — toothpaste, paper plates, dish soap, floss, deodorant, bath tissue and so forth. For all of those types of non-edible items you will pay the same 5 percent sales tax as the rest of the Juneau seniors.

At some point after the end of the year, you will have the opportunity to take your tax information to the City and Borough of Juneau Department of Finance and they will determine whether you are low income or not. If you are determined to be low income, the proposal is to give you $225 back. However, is it fair to make you wait several months to get your money back? And, perhaps of even more importance, you will very likely be paying sales tax that you would NOT have paid under the previous program! You only need to spend more than $4,500 on non-covered sale tax items to be paying the same 5 percent as all other Juneau residents. At a time of life when your income is fixed and inflation on needed items is soaring, is it fair to impose a “new” tax scheme on you? I think NOT.

Please let the Assembly members know what you think before they vote Monday. The meeting will be held in Assembly Chambers in the Municipal Building.

Dorothy and Patrick Owen,