Boomers likely will leave city anyway

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What baby boomers? (This letter is in reference to "Boomers may bust city coffers" on March 2.) I would like to know where Juneau is going to be getting all these retired baby boomers from in the next couple of years?

Where are these future retirees going to live? Not in Juneau. Unless you count our retirement homes and low-income housing, there is nowhere for people on a fixed income to live. Families with two working adults have a hard enough time finding and remaining in affordable housing. The "$5 million" future seniors in Juneau are supposedly going to be taking from the city only works if retired baby boomers decide to stay in Juneau.

I don't see how people who are now between the ages of 42 and 60 are going to be able to afford to live or remain here long enough for their 401(k)s to mature, let alone start using their tax-exemption status.

Why stay in a place that sells you a three-bed, 1-1/2-bath ranch home for $299,000, when you can live in the Lower 48 and pay half that for a bigger home on more land?

Wanamaker states that "seniors are Juneau's wealthiest group, with 3.8 percent at or below poverty line." But how many of these seniors are working, barely getting over that poverty line, so that they can afford to remain in town? What about seniors who live with family? What will happen to those who are just making it if they are no longer tax exempt? Those exemptions add up to usable savings (a tank of gas to get to work, prescriptions, etc.). Besides, Wanamaker is talking about seniors now, not the baby boomers who will be retiring in the next few years.

Considering the rise in property values over the last few years, who knows what houses will cost in the future. If I were going to retire and owned a home worth almost $300,000, do you seriously expect me to not sell it and move down south, paying crisp cash for a decent home that isn't right next door to Mr. and Mrs. Jones?

How many tax-exempt baby boomers are going to be living in Juneau in the next few years? I know quite a few who will be using their seller's market houses for one thing and one thing only -to buy a cheaper, better house somewhere else.

Keep the tax exemption for seniors until we have housing baby boomers can afford.

Brianne Gates


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