Seniors fight for tax exemption

Posted: Thursday, October 27, 2005

About three dozen young and old Juneau residents attended Wednesday night's Assembly Finance Committee meeting ready for a showdown.

Filling the chairs and aisles, they held up placards reading, "Please keep senior sales tax as is."

But the committee avoided the fight over axing the city's sales tax exemption for senior citizens by deferring a decision and ordering Assembly members to do more outreach with the community.

"That means we've got work to do," said Lorilyn Swanson, chairwoman of the Juneau Commission on Aging.

Her group and several others who help senior citizens will work on informing the community and gathering signatures for a petition against the motion, she said.

"I've already collected 25 signatures so far today," Juneau resident Joe Sonneman said.

A tax policy subcommittee recommended continuing to award the exemption for those who are 65 years and older by Jan. 1. Then the proposal would eliminate the exemption entirely on Jan. 1, 2016.

"The concern raised is the fact that our population is aging more quickly than our taxpayer population growth. The cost to our non-exempted taxpayers is becoming a greater and greater burden," according to a tax policy subcommittee memo.

By 2018, Juneau's senior population is expected to double from today's estimate of 7 percent, according to the memo.

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