Letter: Keep senior exemption

Posted: Friday, April 13, 2001

Some government programs - good programs - are age-specific. Examples are: schools, WIC, Head Start and CBJ's senior sales tax exemption.

Seniors spend more than $18 million annually in Juneau, CBJ staff reports. That money is mostly new to Juneau because it is retirement money or Social Security money. Seniors spend that "new money" mostly in Juneau. Non-seniors who get paid with senior money, re-spend that money. CBJ collects tax on the re-spent money.

Economists think this re-spending and re-re-spending totals about six times the "new" money. So Juneau seniors contribute $108 million to the local economy. Of this, CBJ taxes $90 million in re-spending.

If CBJ ends or changes the senior sales tax exemption, seniors can move to warmer, healthier and sunnier places more senior-friendly. Communities compete for seniors' "new money." For example Arizona has a State Office of Retirement Services. Juneau's economy needs more senior spending, not less.

Won't it be better for Juneau businesses and employees if Juneau continues to help its seniors, so that Juneau seniors stay in Juneau, spending new money at Juneau businesses?

So give fixed-income seniors a break, especially since good government programs help younger age groups.

Keep the senior sales tax exemption unchanged.

Joe Sonneman


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