Letter: You betcha we need a bed tax!

You betcha we need a bed tax!

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is financially struggling to provide our basic services…..and it has been. Our borough assembly is going to either raise taxes on those of us living or we’re going to see a bed tax on tourists and visitors from other places coming to this peninsula and enjoying the current free ride they have been getting, compared to visiting other parts of our country.

I have been involved with marketing, convention planning, and organizing meetings for more than 30 years, hosting more than a dozen statewide and national meetings within various communities of our great state during that time, and all have had a so-called bed tax to help pay for services visitors and tourists benefit from when they go there. Think of it … our public parks and many with free restrooms, country roads and their maintenance, police department protection, fire protection, EMS services, beaches and river access…to name a few. A portion of the bed tax should go to communities providing local services for these travelers.

Anchorage leads the way with a 12 percent bed tax. Don’t we have as much to offer on this fabulous tourist mecca as our big neighbor? I am not one to say we should have it because they have it. We should do it because for years visitors and tourists to our Peninsula have been getting a bit of a free ride at our expense. They need to help pay the bill.

Tourism is a rapidly growing renewable resource in Alaska and on this Ppeninsula, and tourism/visitors need to help with a bit of financing the services we provide.

It’s either we, all of us residents, paying more tax or our visitors paying their fair share. It is going to happen.

I encourage you, a Kenai Peninsula Borough resident, to turn out for the borough assembly meeting next Tuesday evening June 19, at 6 p.m. at the borough building in Soldotna, and let your voice be heard. The hoteliers and B & B folks will be there opposing this in full swing as before, but you betcha, we need a bed tax implemented.

Peter O. Hansen

Kenai

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