Senior tax break also tax transfer

  • Thursday, January 23, 2014 10:31am
  • News

With all due respect to Peter Zuyus, I find his letter  to the editor (Jan. 16) about a proposal to limit the senior property tax exemption to be, at the very least, mean-spirited. 

Speaking as an official “senior” who enjoys the property tax exemption, I nevertheless recognize that there is a legitimate argument about how large a  tax break we seniors deserve just by virtue of aging. Labeling anyone — including Mayor Navarre and certain council members — as guilty of “disdain,” “arrogance,” “jealousy” and “disregard” just because they’re raising the issue, certainly doesn’t do much for civil discourse. 

No matter how you slice it, my tax break also is a tax transfer. Someone is going to pick up the tab for schools, fire, garbage, hospitals, road service, libraries, etc., etc.  Some of this cost is covered by sales tax, which is a regressive tax but at least spreads the pain, but most is covered by property taxes. 

In the old days (pre-Zobel, which shows how long I’ve lived in Alaska), not only the Permanent Fund but also tax exemptions could be tied to length of  residency. And if that were the case, I might feel differently. “We worked to build this state and community — we deserve a break!” 

But length of residency is no longer a requirement.  Instead, any California (or wherever) retiree who loves fishing, can afford a half-million dollar house on the bluff and knows a sweet deal when he sees it, can move up here and live tax-free. 

Does that make sense? Is that fair? 

I am wholly in Mayor Navarre’s and Milli Martin’s (another senior; is she guilty of “disdain,” “arrogance,” “jealousy” and “disregard”?) camp on this one. We need a reasonable ($300,000 seems fair to me) limit on property tax exemptions, with exceptions for seniors who are land rich and cash poor, and who, often, are the real pioneers deserving of a break.

I don’t buy the argument that just because I’ve lived in Alaska for 40 years and have lived to be 65 that I no longer have an obligation to help share the burden for the services that I use and value. 

Marylou Burton

More in News

Clem Tillion of Halibut Cove poses for a photo on Jan. 9, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. The veteran Alaska legislator was passing through Homer while waiting to take the M/V Tustumena ferry to Kodiak. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Clem Tillion, PFD founder and former legislator, dies at 96

Tillion died Wedneday, Oct. 13, at Halibut Cove home.

Thunder Mountain High School on April 18.  Earlier this fall, vandalism including stolen soap dispensers and toilets clogged with foreign objects such as paper towel rolls were a problem at schools nationwide and in Juneau. But, principals say the local situation is improving. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
After brief surge, vandalism subsiding at local high schools

Principals say internet trends, stress likely behind incidents.

In this Jan. 8, 2020, photo Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, heads to a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington. An Alaska man faces federal charges after authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill Murkowski, according to court documents unsealed Wed., Oct. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite,File)
Delta Junction man faces charges over threatening Murkowski’s life

Authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill the senator.

Donna Aderhold recites the Homer City Council oath of office and is sworn in for duty at the city council meeting on Oct. 11. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
New council members sworn into duty Monday

Newly-elected Homer City Council members Shelly Erickson and Jason Davis and re-elected… Continue reading

Runners participate in boys varsity race at the Ted McKenney XC Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. The trails recently reported incidents of vandalism and theft. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Vandalism and theft reported at Tsalteshi Trails

One trail user reported stolen skis recently and multiple signs have been defaced.

At left Bonita Banks, RN, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) nurse at Homer Medical Center, and at right, Annie Garay, RN, Community Health Educator, pose for a photo at South Peninsula Hospital on Sept. 27, 2021, at Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
New hospital community health educator starts

Garay, a Homer raised nurse, came home to ride out COVID-19, wound up doing pandemic nursing.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Montessori school goes to universal indoor masking

As of Tuesday, eight KPBSD schools were operating with universal indoor masking for staff and students.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Crabbers look at cuts to quotas

Tanner, opilio crab quotas cut on top of cancellation of fall king crab fishery.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Judge sides with psychiatrists who alleged wrongful firing

Two psychiatrists said they were wrongfully fired when Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy took office.

Most Read