Letter: Senior tax exemption

In the two hours of testimony at a city meeting last Monday, only four or five people approved the changes in the current senior citizen sales tax exemptions. Juneau Chamber of Commerce Director Craig Dahl, columnist Rich Moniak and Juneau Assembly-hopeful Dixie Hood were among the most notable. The bulk of the testimony supported the need for the sales exemption and offered viable alternatives that would not adversely affect the economic health of seniors or the business community.

Opposing the changes were Mayor Merrill Sanford, Assemblywoman Mary Becker, the Alaska Native Sisterhood and the bulk of those testifying. A member of the Commission on Aging, who made clear that she was not representing that entity, suggested the Assembly wait until the state declares its position on a state income tax.

Several alternatives were offered by those opposing the change, such as: collecting the back sales taxes and future sale taxes owed to CBJ; putting the sales tax revision on the ballot; reducing spending on civic projects that become liabilities of the borough; extending the sales tax exemption to all residents; and using the income from tourism to fund the additional dock and other tourist-related projects.

Kate Troll, an enthusiastic endorser of the 2015-b amendment to decrease senior tax exemptions, suggested seniors attend the Sept. 30 meeting at Centennial Hall. According to Assemblywoman Troll, it will deal with the state’s budget shortfall. As seniors, we have witnessed years of profligate spending by the state, which now wishes to crash the economy by austerity measures that may ensure or deepen an economic downfall.

It was a meeting well worth the time for anyone interested in the workings of our borough and the interaction with constituents.

Judith LaRochelle,