Letters to the editor

On the state budget

To balance the state budget is absolutely necessary. To do so without supplementing the state revenue in any way, however, is shortsighted and unreasonable. I do not envy the governor’s task, but Dunleavy’s proposed budget is one that ignores both precedence and the needs of Alaska citizens.

A sentiment that has become prevalent in the last few months concerning the budget proposal is the idea that “we need to work with what we have” — essentially that we can only spend what we currently take in. While technically true, this idea dismisses the very reasonable choice of increasing revenues. We, as a state, have the discretion and ability to create more to work with, instead of repeating the rhetoric that we can only spend what we have.

A state income tax is a measure that the Alaska Senate has thus far refused to consider, but is one that is effective and widespread in the nation. In 2017, Gov. Bill Walker proposed a 1.5-percent income tax forecasted to bring in $300 million in revenue, one-sixth of the proposed spending cuts. Income taxes become much less aversive considering the potential harms of income taxes in juxtaposition with those of proposed cuts.

Of the 43 states that levy income taxes, none show the economic harm some suggest Alaska would suffer. Of course, closing the deficit with just an income tax most certainly isn’t the solution, but it shows how easily the deficit could be closed if we looked realistically at our options.

In conclusion, while the budget needs to be balanced, the governor and his cabinet have yet to consider realistic solutions or to look at the practical and effective options the government has. While the state of the budget isn’t currently Dunleavy’s fault, it soon may be.

Larry Dunn

Bird Happiness

I don’t know about you, the reader, but each year when the earth tips, the days lengthen and new birds show up at the feeder, my blood pumps a bit faster.

The long term consequences of the Kenai River Bridge being built resulted in snow geese not stopping over as was predicted by Fish and Wildlife. As the Kenai Peninsula develops sustainably for us and wildlife, details are important, i.e. allowing the berm to recover at Bishop’s Beach.

The Alaska Maritime Wildlife Refuge, housed in Islands and Ocean, is a life giving part of Kachemak Bay. Each year the refuge sponsors experts of bird life and provides educational opportunities about the wonders of this magical geography. The upcoming Shore Bird Festival in May will provide another opportunity to listen to a keynote expert, “rub shoulders” with other people who come from near and far and gather for the love of birds and nature.

If you haven’t walked along Beluga Slough or Mud Bay in April and caught glimpse of the return of the trumpeter swans, tail up and head down in mud as they feed for food in the rich estuary in our back yard, take a walk. These beautiful, graceful birds seem to represent the higher aspect of our human selves. It’s free and you get exercise at the same time!

Or walk along the Homer Harbor Trail on the east side and listen to the chatter and buzz of hundreds of sandpipers resting in the afternoon sun at water’s edge. At first you don’t see them camouflaged like gray rocks, but the incessant buzzing pulls your senses downward, and there they sit in abundance, little wondrous creatures.

It’s not too early to begin planning how to capture the excitement of Homer’s annual Shore Bird Festival. It’s too good to miss.

Flo Larson

Filmmakers appreciate support

We would like to thank the Homer High School Cultural Club, Jesse Bolt (the Mariner Theatre manager), and our big-hearted community for supporting the screening of our documentary, “Arctic Daughter: A Lifetime of Wilderness.” We were pleased to have the opportunity to share our work with friends and the community, and to help the students visit Europe this summer. We thank all of you who attended and gave so generously.

With heart-felt appreciation to a wonderful community,

Jean Aspen and Tom Irons

Learn about oil and gas taxes

To get information on what I am talking about here you will have to visit Ak.gov/us/Fall 2018 Revenue Source Book {156 pg.s} and the Ak.gov/us/Oil and Gas Production Tax-Historical Overview.

On May 21, 2013 SB 21 was signed into law. Major Provisions of this law are: The production tax was amended to 35 percent of the annual PTV (Production tax value) in AS 43.55.011 (e), and eliminates the progressivity index under AS 43.55.001 (g) effective Jan. 1, 2014. That sounds fair to me. At that rate of interest in the fiscal year 2018, with a daily rate of 518,000 Bbl.s per day times 365 days = 189,216,000 x $66 = $12,866,688,000.00. Our share should have been $3,924,340,800 (35 percent).

According to the Revenue Book we collected $805,577,463.00, or .0626095 percent. Say what? We are short $3,118,763,337.00.

To understand this go, back to SB 21 and read the whole thing. The 35 percent is basically a lie. It is a lie because our oil masters would never have to pay that much, because our generous politicians can write and add in any amount of credit. For example: Oil under $80 a barrel? Subtract $8 (pre-tax). We, the state of Alaska, will pay all transportation fees from wellhead to Washington port. Subtract $9.52 per barrel (Pre-tax).

For more information, read Chapter 8, “Credits,” in the Revenue Source Book, Fall 2018.

I would be more specific but there is a word limit here.

George Trudeau, Anchor Point

Homer News editor blew it on waterline editorial

Michael Armstrong’s editorial speaking out against the Homer City Council not rescinding an ordinance allowing water to a parcel in Kachemak City omitted important details. Without which, Ordinance 19-09(s) might be misunderstood by those who fail to consider the “positive” aspects of council’s approval resulting in additional funding to the Homer Area Water Sewer Project (HAWSP).

This project fueled controversy because the council agreed to accept a $100,000 “service extension fee” to flow water into the project from the city’s “stranded infrastructure.”

When the lines were extended in 2004, about 50 percent of construction costs were allocated to Kachemak City lots that affronted those lines. These improvements were calculated at about $265,000 to be collected when the connections were permitted. To date, no connections have been permitted, resulting in “stranded infrastructure.”

Why put pipe into the ground and not allow it to be used? This new project will enable our city to sell water from the pipe versus city water delivered by a private company, thus the beginning of “stranded infrastructure” generating revenue from this long idled city investment.

The argument that this will entice development of big box store(s) in Kachemak City to escape Homer’s property and sales tax is unfounded and can be controlled. It is obvious that Chicken Little has settled into the minds of those who don’t approve, but rest assured the sky is not falling. This project has been identified as a need for our community. Although outside the city limits, it will generate revenue from an investment that has been sitting idle for years.

So, Editor Armstrong, I take exception to your comment that “the council dimmed the lights on democracy and opened up the city to corruption.” That couldn’t be farther from the truth and you know it.

Tom Stroozas

Pets have it better than some children

As I move every further into my 80s, one of many changes in American standards that stands out the most is the realization that househould pets enjoy a higher quality of health care, food and shelter than do millions of children in our inner cities.

John A. Anderson, Kenai

No good deed goes unpunished

Contrary to intimations in last week’s edition, Mayor Ken Castner’s actions in promoting Ordinance 19-09(S), which authorized water service to a new low-income housing development in Kachemak City, was not a nefarious plot to destroy the Republic. Anyone who has observed Ken’s efforts over the years in selflessly promoting community realizes that it was merely Ken being his activist self — walking his talk.

He’s not one to stand idly by while opportunities exist to strengthen the city’s financial status while simultaneously improving the quality of life for others. Unfortunately, this time he got tripped-up over his zealous attempt to manage the initial process. It’s as if he were the cook conditionally hired by the management (the six council members), and instead of serving up the usual fare he selected his own ingredients and recipe, but baked the cake too briefly and it collapsed.

I’m certain he’s now embarrassingly aware that the management was not amused. Henceforth he’s likely to stick with the bland menu and lengthly cooking process demanded by them, at the expense of lost opportunity to enjoy other savory dishes. That way, everyone who’s not familiar with the cook can be reassured and have confidence that — over the long run — the process, not the man, best serves their desire to enjoy traditional cusine.

Larry Slone

Roderick family appreciates support

I would like to take a moment and express my heart felt appreciation and gratitude to everyone who has given: time, donations, flowers, food, cards, love and help during our difficult time. Marc will be greatly miss and loved. Thank you to all the truckers who joined the convoy; it was impressive and touching.

I feel very lucky to be surrounded by so many kind and generous people. Thank you all for your love and support helping us through our time of sorrow.

Sincerely,

Shanna Squires-Roderick and family

Keep dogs away from shorebirds

Shorebirds arriving now have traveled a very long way, and when they get to Kachemak Bay, they need to feed and rest in order to continue their journey farther north to their breeding ground.

There is a significant negative impact on these birds from loose dogs. Wherever they are feeding and resting, we ask that you keep your dogs on a leash or, if possible, away from those areas.

The Kachemak Bay Birders are conducting their annual Shorebird Monitoring at this time and continuing for the next six weeks. Survey teams go to an assigned beach every fifth day on a falling 15-foot tide and identify and count all the shorebirds. It is important that we get an accurate count of these birds. The impact of loose dogs is especially bad in three specific areas: Beluga Slough, Green Timbers and Louie’s Lagoon. (The latter two are the lagoon areas on the east side of the Spit with driveways down to parking areas.)

During our monitoring times listed below, we are asking that you take your dogs for a run on other beaches free of shorebirds, or if you bring them into one of these areas, keep them on a leash.

Monitoring times: April 18, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; April 23, 7:30-9:30 p.m.; April 28, 10:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.; May 3, 5-7 p.m.;

May 8, 7:15-9:15 p.m.; May 13, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; May 18, 5-7 p.m.; May 23, 7:30-9:30 p.m..

Lani Raymond, for the Kachemak Bay Birders

Council, mayor should try mediation

Suggestion: The city council and mayor participate in a mediated retreat focusing on communicating with each other.

Hopefully, the result will be the ability to live up to Homer’s motto “The City That Works.”

Respectfully,

Rosemary Fitzpatrick

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