I have yet to hear a good argument for why we should continue to have senior property tax exemptions. I’m a member of the painfully small 30-40-year-old demographic in Haines.

We volunteer in the community too, start businesses, create jobs, stay year-round and purchase goods locally. So where is the incentive to keep working-age people in the community? It’s a struggle for younger residents to make a living here as it is. We will never have pensions. Real estate is unaffordable for most, and there are few good jobs. In fact, there are so many disincentives to live here that I’m not surprised to see friends my age move away about as fast as they arrive. It would be much cheaper for me to move my new business away, too, and sell my house to a retiree. 

A bond measure is going up for vote to increase these taxes again, yet the majority of voters will probably be exempt from paying it. This state tax exemption is an example of bad economic policy that is hurting our borough, especially in this time of state budget tightening. 

Instead of an unequal tax structure that creates an artificially skewed demographic and undue burden on working-age residents, let’s all pay an equal, reasonable rate of tax based on property value, reign in borough spending, and do more to encourage everyone to stay – especially young people, who will be the true drivers of economic growth.

Heather Shade