How would you like to pay?

I was watching C-Span last Friday when Wayne LaPierre, President of the National Rifle Association, responded to the Sandy Hook School shooting tragedy. His solution to such an attack was to have armed personnel at each school in the country.

Now a significant portion of the Juneau population is against unfunded Federal mandates, many are averse to increasing Federal spending, and the State of Alaska seems loath to increase education funding. That seems to leave only one solution, providing our own locally funded armed guards in the schools.

Let’s assume the Juneau Police Department installs 2 patrol officers in each of our 14 schools. This increases their total personnel from 93 to 121 and their salary and benefits cost by over $3 million annually, from $10,243,000 to $13,295,000 based on their FY 2012 budget. Mr LaPierre did suggest that we could arm teachers, so I would suggest, in all fairness, we divide the $3 million among the teachers that want to carry a gun on their hip all day.

To pay for this public safety improvement, based on the CBJ’s FY 2012 revenue projections, Juneau taxpayers will have to increase both sales and property taxes by 3.67%. Not bad, considering the extra protection.

On the other hand, there are approximately 27,271 firearms in the Borough, assuming the private gun ownership in Juneau is proportionate to the USA in general (88.8 guns per 100 persons). If each firearm was taxed $112 annually, then the Juneau taxpayer will see no increase.

We can certainly continue unfettered gun ownership and provide the armed presence as the NRA suggests. The only question then is which method of payment you prefer.

•• Minch is retired, a gun owner, and a 44-year Juneau resident and taxpayer.


Wed, 02/22/2017 - 11:53

Stand with Alaskans and stand with Planned Parenthood

I appreciate Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s recent decision to support repealing the Trump administration’s global gag rule. The global gag rule bans federal money for overseas family planning programs if the programs also provide abortion, or provide information about abortion. The global gag rule puts thousands of lives at risk, and Murkowski has rightly recognized that. I praise Murkowski, and want her to know that Alaskans stand with her in supporting access to family planning services. This means that we support Planned Parenthood, and we hope she will stand with us in the coming weeks by refusing to vote for any changes to the Affordable Care Act that include defunding Planned Parenthood. Read more

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 08:42

Alaska editorial: The opioid issue

This editorial first appeared in the Ketchikan Daily News:

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Wed, 02/22/2017 - 08:41

Expanding apprenticeship in rural Alaska

We are proud to announce a new statewide training initiative: the Alaska Maritime Apprenticeship Program. Over the past year, the Calista Corporation, in partnership with the state and federal government, has built a Registered Apprenticeship program to train Alaskans for careers on deck, in the engine room, and in the galley, earning both a salary and an industry-recognized credential. Working with a group of companies including Brice Marine and Yukon River Towing, we are expanding career and training opportunities for Alaskans in the maritime industry.

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Wed, 02/22/2017 - 08:40

Transboundary mining: Defending Alaska’s interests

It is a big week for Alaska’s capital city. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan are in town to address the Alaska State Legislature, the United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) Board of Directors, and all Alaskans. There are a number of issues on which the state of Alaska, including our elected decision makers at both the state and federal levels, can show unity. One of those critical issues is asking the U.S. federal government to defend Alaskan interests in the Alaska-British Columbia (B.C.) transboundary mining issue.

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