Two things caught my eye in the paper on Tuesday, which need some clarification for your readers.
First, Paulette Simpson’s my turn piece presented an argument that Juneau citizens should go the extra mile to support their local businesses during these extreme times caused by the pandemic. In other words, use them or lose them. In reality, I agree with Paulette and most of the people I know have gone out of their way to use innovative means to support local businesses. It is a bitter-sweet issue for Juneau seniors, however, as it was the Chamber of Commerce, representing local businesses, who led the successful charge to only increase taxes on local seniors by taking away much of their sales tax exemption several years ago. Thus, many seniors turned to Amazon Prime to make up for their income loss.
CBJ later estimated that it would take almost $4 million to cover the taxes lost if the senior tax exemption were reinstated. As we enjoy a 5% sales tax, including food sales taxes, that $4 million in tax revenues means that Juneau seniors are funneling $80 million to outside businesses — mainly Amazon Prime. Although I disagree with the $4 million estimate the sad part of this story is that with Amazon Prime now taxing some of our purchases and the city receives some of those taxes, the local businesses have lost their sales. Maybe the Chamber should have considered the worst case scenario before punishing the seniors in our community.
The last issue regards two independent candidates running for U.S. Congress. Both Alyse Galvin and Dr. Gross are running as independents in this year’s election and pledge to represent Alaskan interests in Congress. Although I would normally encourage people to run as independents, both candidates will caucus with the Democrats in DC if they intend to pursue their goals. Dr. Gross has already admitted he would do that. Unless you have been living on Mars, the Democrat caucus does very little to represent Alaska. Does the caucus support drilling in ANWR? No. Does the caucus support giving Alaskans broader use of federal public lands? No. Does the caucus support Medicare for all including illegal aliens? Yes. Does the caucus support abortion until actual birth? Yes. Does the caucus support increasing taxes and eliminating the tax increases we got this past year? Yes. Does the caucus support eliminating use of fossil fuels? Yes. In other words, voting for these two candidates is a vote against Alaskans. These two candidates have no chance of working “for” Alaskans.
• Ron Somerville is an 83-year-old Alaskan. He moved to Juneau from Anchorage in 1979.