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EDITOR, Daily News:
Thanks to the staff of the Ketchikan Daily News for your informative article on Saturday entitled “Ortiz Talks Budget.” It was an accurate account of the town meeting I hosted last Thursday. However, the author of the article omitted one important point that I had discussed in relationship to Gov. Walker’s wage and self-employment tax bill that he has submitted for the Legislature’s consideration in the upcoming special session.
His proposal calls for a 1.5 percent flat tax on wages or self-employment income that includes a capped amount of $2,200, which would be the amount owed by an individual making $170,000 annually. As the article stated, I’m considering offering an amendment to the proposal. However, the article didn’t include one key aspect of the amendment that I spoke about at the meeting: I plan to introduce a 50-percent deduction to the 2.65 mill. levy property tax that any Alaska resident living within a borough currently pays. That portion of the levy is currently being collected by borough governments throughout the state and goes towards the state’s contribution to statewide education costs. An example of how this would work, if my amendment is adopted, is as follows:
The deduction would be allowed on only one primary residence property and it could be taken by only one person who resides in that property. If a person’s primary residence is valued at $284,000, the 2.65-mill portion of their property tax would be $752.60. If that same person made $100,000 in wages/salary, their 1.5 percent tax bill under the governor’s proposal would be $1,500. Deducting 50 percent of the 2.65-mill levy amount would mean the person could deduct $376.30 from that $1,500. They would owe $1,123.70.
My primary job as a state legislator is to represent the interests of the people who live in District 36. I have heard many comments from my constituents that it is unfair that we pay a tax that goes towards state expenditures for education and those that don’t live in boroughs don’t pay that tax. If my amendment is adopted, it would partially remedy that unfair situation.
REP. DAN ORTIZ
House District 36