Thoughts on taxes, elders

Posted: Friday, March 28, 2003

Who doesn't agree with me that Gov. Murkowski would kill to be back on the U.S. Senate, as the chair of the Energy Committee? Perhaps his leadership was sorely missed in the recent death of the ANWR Amendment. He was the Arctic oil drilling champion.

Gov. Murkowski's budget is brave, sort of. Two things pop out at me looking generally at the budget fight. Gov. Murkowski is not a good salesman, and Democrats are being disingenuous when they go off like Murkowski is some kind of taxing super liberal. I buy into the "user fee" for gasoline idea. Roads need repair, badly. Gas tax is a good idea.

I don't support any cut in education, from Alyeska to school transportation, to lifelong education like science research. Cutting research and education leads only to a horrible working state, bad economy, and sad families.

Tentatively, I think cutting the longevity bonus is a good idea. The only problem is, I can only see it theoretically. But, theoretically, cutting some funding to seniors, and encouraging counsel, work and productivity from our elders, I think is a good idea. I see many seniors who have RVs and are retired and supposedly living the Alaska dream, but it really is a sort of sham, because they are invisible. No one listens to them. So, along with the cut, if there could somehow be a fundamental shift in how we see older persons, and work with them, there could be a stronger, wiser Alaska.

Also, the age for retirement, 65, was set when life expectancy was much shorter. Also, the nation spends eight times the amount of resources on seniors rather than students. Also, with Baby Boomers retiring, it looks like the economy could be down for a long time if there is full dependence, not productivity, from our seniors. Also, they are wise, and we need them. Hopefully, my elders can agree with this.

But, overall, it's good that not all state jobs were cut, and the Constitutional Budget Reserve wasn't completely tapped into. What would we do without the productive senior citizen, Frank Murkowski?

Ishmael Hope

Juneau



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