Dear fellow Eaters and Voters, and I hope you’re both, soon we will be voting on Borough Proposition No. 1 — Grocery Taxes! Once we get past the knowledge and undeniable truth that unprepared food staples are a necessity of life, that food taxes are regressive to families with children, seniors and our neighbors on fixed incomes, and the memory that a vote of “We the people” has been denied for the last seven years by politicians who want more of your money to play with, we can move on to action, on to the vote. But how?
Our local politicians Murphy, Dixson, Whitney and others try scare tactics, right before Halloween. Perhaps, they say, a six- to eight-fold increase in property tax or overall sales tax rate of 5 to 8 percent will be needed. Good luck with that. The city manager indicates he may have to close hours of operation at city parks, eliminate services at the library (like the librarian), and leave mountains of snow around the borough building, borough hospital, borough school buildings and Post Office. Are you scared yet? Do you live in fear? Will you surrender?
Or, perhaps you will examine the realities:
— The borough has been without 3 percent grocery tax since 2009 (they haven’t closed their doors).
— City of Soldotna sales tax total has increased almost every year from 2003 through 2014, approximately $5 million in 2003 to approximately $8 million in 2014.
— City of Soldotna fund balance now is approximately $28 million, and total assets of over $108 million.
— Natural growth: Acapulco Restaurant, Petco, Auto Zone, Walgreens, to name a few. Twenty-five home permits. Natural growth always increasing the tax base.
— City of Soldotna has a million-dollar property (Davis Block) it can “sit on” for five years for its special friends (the chamber).
— City of Soldotna had $3.9 million to spend on roundabouts.
— Borough Assembly, hopefully will be updating sales tax code on large purchases, appliances, vehicles, etc., that will transfer more revenue to Soldotna coffers since 1965.
— Every price increase on groceries — bread, bologna, fruits and vegetables, milk. The city collects more tax money, while your family gets less.
In conclusion, the question has been asked, why should nonresidents of the city determine city tax policies and gains? That question to be answered by another: Why should the majority of city council members determine grocery costs for our neighbors in Sterling, Funny River, K-Beach, Kasilof, Clam Gulch, etc.?
So now the final question — will you vote? Are you afraid? Scared to think? I’m not. I’ll be filling in the YES oval for Prop 1, and the Yes ovals for Nelson and Sturman. Please join me.
Thanks for your consideration.