Commenting as a lifelong Alaskan and senior citizen — the outrage being expressed by seniors against the Homer City Council and Rep. Paul Seaton for seeking local control over property tax is too harsh. It’s also quite forgetful of the mess my generation has gotten this state and country into.
That fixed income some seniors live on? My 30-year -old daughter is on a fixed income as well — it’s called her salary — and her future isn’t nearly as bright looking as it was for people in 1970. She pays into a bloated defense budget, a social security system that isn’t needs based for seniors, a country that is deficit spending like you can’t believe, and if she is lucky enough to own a house here she will be paying to subsidize seniors — many who are living far better than she possibly ever will.
And who brought us this situation? People who are now seniors, of course. The ones that exploded state government spending, the ones screaming about the loss of a permanent fund dividend. The ones who’ve encouraged our municipalities and cities to incur debt for civic infrastructure because it comes with federal matching funds that they borrow from our children’s future paychecks and saddle them with the debt without asking. How can we possibly be surprised that our younger people are looking to us to help solve the problems we created?
This property tax question is not about conservative or liberal politics. It’s about something far more important — fair tax. Quite simply the fairness of any tax policy rests on the ability of people to pay measured against the services they want. When life expectancy was 65-70 years, a senior property tax exemption was an easier idea. Now that life expectancy is so much longer we need to revisit some of those assumptions.
One of the selling points of a state income tax is that it would give local government the information and opportunity to develop a needs based property tax structure.
Simply saying we are seniors — we deserve it — is no longer enough.
And as far as spending all of your income locally in Homer, show me a young working person who doesn’t. As a class — us seniors aren’t that special — and if it takes the city council and Rep Seaton to help point that out, so be it.
I don’t want my kids to subsidize my property tax. I’ll be satisfied if they just put some gas into the tank when they borrow my car.