Scoring extra points

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, March 06, 2001

A headline on the front page of the Feb. 28 Empire read "Senior tax break eyed; Exemptions for elderly... may be dropped to raise city revenues." A headline on the front page of March 2 Empire read "City may help pay for quieter aircraft; Ordinance would give tax break to outfits that invest in quieter aircraft."

From the text of the articles which follow, the city finance director and others are saying that seniors - many, if not most of who are on a fixed income - should be paying 5 percent sales tax. Since most seniors must spend the bulk of their income on the necessities of life, this would simply redirect 5 percent of seniors' income away from the local grocer, dry goods merchant, restaurant, and so on and into the city's coffers. Cost of living would be less in many locations outside, but seniors stay in Juneau after retirement because they love the place and because their children and grandchildren are here.

Do the second headline and article give the intent of the finance director for use of funds they expect to obtain by taking away senior sales tax exemption; namely exempting from city taxes for 10 years helicopters that cost $1.8 million each because they are quieter than older models. The cost of this exemption is projected to be less than the increased take in sale taxes that would be obtained from seniors, but the finance director will no doubt be able to find another business which would like a tax exemption. Does a business get extra points if it is tourist oriented?

Eleanor Fitzgerald


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