Taxing those with no vote

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Gustavus has arguably the most deteriorated and unsafe dock in Southeast Alaska, or for that matter, all of Alaska. This past year the only barge company coming to Gustavus stopped sailing to Southeast Alaska. Our dock is in such poor condition no barge company will deliver goods to us. We receive goods from Juneau only by air or landing craft (the landing craft can only arrive at high tide at the Salmon River).

Several years past, the state had us on a fast tract for a new dock; we were subsequently removed from the state's list of projects in need of immediate attention. It is remarkable, not one letter from Juneau appeared in the Empire, if memory serves me. The silence has been and continues to be deafening. The cost of shipping goods (luxury items such as fresh produce) is extremely expensive for all in Gustavus, but not one word from Juneau until now.

Now there is a Juneau proposal to remove the out-of-town tax exemption. (I have noted that whenever Juneau proposes that the cruise ship industry pay new or additional taxes a hue-and-cry comes from their lobbyists. The industry demands and receives that their passengers get improved facilities. This proposal is clearly an attempt by Juneau to shift their tax burden to others who have no vote. Remember several days ago when the proposal to remove the senior tax exemption resulted in the gray panthers tearing at the throats of the Assembly.)

If Juneau is going to tax me I want to know one thing: What do I get for paying hundreds of dollars in sales taxes? Paying Juneau sales tax and then paying for air or landing craft shipping fees will result in two behaviors on my part. One will be a significant decrease in my disposable income, and I shall attempt to decrease purchases in Juneau. (It should be noted that the outlying communities of Southeast spend many millions of dollars in Juneau.)

One final thought, it is clear that a state capital 50 miles distant is the same as a state capital five hundred miles distant.

Thomas Imboden


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