I have sent two letters to the editor regarding the proposed water park in the Mendenhall Valley. The first letter clearly stated that Juneau needs it; however there are a lot of things Juneau needs. Therefore, it is a question of priorities. The second letter I questioned if it is moral to tax basic necessities for recreational opportunities.
A visit to the water park would cost a family of four approximately $26 per daily visit (two adults at $16, a youth at $6 and a child at $4). A 12-month family pass is $1,320. There are many families in Juneau that cannot afford that kind of expensive recreation. Yet Ms. Lawfer is willing to tax their food, heating oil, electricity and other basic necessities so she can swoosh down Eaglecrest or wade the lazy river. That is neither a progressive or regressive approach to taxation. It is imperialism, something akin to old England with the royals recreating on the backs of the peasants.
I questioned the morality of compelling people to pay for recreational opportunities for those who can afford to take advantage of them. If these recreational needs are so important and the citizens of Juneau are willing to pay for them, a revenue bond is the appropriate vehicle to finance construction of the project. With a revenue bond, the people who actually use the water park eventually repay the debt. I compare the efforts of the water park group to that of the golf course group: The water park group is willing to force the others in the community to pay for construction, whereas the golf course proponents are securing their own financing.
Juneau is a great place to live, and it would be better if raw sewage were not running on the beaches and in the ditches of the borough. Juneau would be a better place if the second crossing were put in, shaving hundreds of miles off residents' commutes annually. We have a long list of things that would create a better place, many that would lower the cost of living for the benefit of everyone, an appropriate use of sales tax revenue. Finally, removing the sales tax on food, heating oil and other basic necessities would say more about who lives in this place than the place itself, as it should be.
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