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Thursday, June 20, 2019
HomePoliticsOuch — Anchorage homeowners get their property tax bills

Ouch — Anchorage homeowners get their property tax bills

Knowing the governor does not have the funds to reimburse school bonds anymore, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and the Assembly let them go to the ballot in April with barely a warning to voters.

Now, home ownership taxes have gone up again, about $80 a year for the average home in the $380,000 range. The average yearly property tax paid by Anchorage residents already amounted to about 3.84 percent of their yearly income. But wait….

The assessments and invoices arrived in mailboxes in Anchorage on Saturday and homeowners were surprised to see the note from Mayor Berkowitz blaming higher taxes yet to come on Gov. Michael Dunleavy and the Legislature. Perhaps in a special mid-year assessment? He also says that the cost of municipal government is down, except for public safety, when actually, the budget is the highest in municipal history, at $515 million plus.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Little Ethan is playing a favorite game of the dims/socialists. “If you can’t or won’t tell the truth, baffle the people with bullsh_t”. Justification for dims becomes “by any means possible” to avoid taking the blame for their own stupidity and greed for socialist programs.

    • Well look at you, sounding so educated, not. You must be a product of the massive school cuts. I’m sorry for anyone who has to read your resume.

      • I’m not a product of school cuts. I’m a proponent of them. Don’t feel sorry for me or my resume. I, and my resume, work just fine.

    • A quote from sheep TV/ FOX

      • Don’t know what you’re trying to say Donnie. Do you? If I quote anyone/anywhere/any time, I say it. My thoughts and comments are my own.

    • Ben,
      The Leftists commenting on your comment show their typical mentality. They offer no facts to support their position, they offer nothing of any substance whatsoever. All they can do is call those they disagree with names. They can’t even articulate WHY they disagree, because they don’t know. All they know is that they’ve been told that anyone who disagrees with big government, socialism, and all the other Leftist talking points must be bad. Talk about sheep and parrots! They’re good at throwing out bumper sticker slogans, but no so bright in the intellect department.

      • Randy, haha your comment is a joke, right? You rant about “no facts” with no facts, only “bumper sticker slogans.” Good one!

        • The facts I refer to are right there in the comments above mine, referencing comments by obvious Leftists. Thanks for playing, but you win nothing.

  • I don’t know why Anchorage allows the City to send out politically slanted messages with a property tax bill. People were screaming it out on the radio vote no on these bonds because the State is going to have to cut there budgets and the state portion is not a contract . Anchorage can’t keep voting for things and expecting the rest of the state to pay for them.

  • Is sending out propaganda using taxpayer dollars legal?

  • Kinda funny. Listening to many advocates from the Left, they would have you think that paying taxes – even many more additional taxes – is an HONOR AND DUTY and a GOOD thing. These folks need to arrive at a consistent message. For a fella like Ethan, and his lovely wife, the Deputy Director of the Anchorage Museum, an additional $900 per year (based on his much-nicer-than-average residence) is no big deal. Certainly he isn’t complaining, is he?

    • Isn’t it that public services cost less in the long run? Not sure if that’s the phenomenon you’re referencing, but left-wingers tend to do that. I know that at least EMT and emergency services cost a penny on the dollar and save more money to pay in taxes than to privatize and pay off your pocket.

  • This is political bias and should be illegal if it isn’t already. And what gives mr. B ( and I use the term loosely ) the right to spread his demo propaganda in tax bills? He failed at politics once . Are we going to listen to him or report him for this incredibly bias if not down right dirty politics ?

  • We the People were not given adequate information about this until after we had been duped into agreeing to even more bond debt at the beginning of April. The Muni/ASD was well aware of this potential debt heading our way. Without asking the public, they decided to spend millions on rebuilding two unnecessary schools in Eagle River rather than put that money toward retiring old bond debt or using it for whatever they claimed they needed on the upcoming election. When we were asked for more at the beginning of April, we agreed as we weren’t made fully aware of everything they knew about the past un retired bond debt. All of this shady dissemination of information was timed for release in a way that most ensured that We the People wouldn’t figure out this big tax increase was headed our way until the Muni/ASD had manipulated us to agree to build more buildings and give them more money. It is clear the elected in Anchorage will do whatever is best for themselves, regardless of what we, the taxpayers, would have chosen to do as they worked really hard at not having to ask us or tell us the truth.

    • They were rebuilding an Elementary school and middle school damaged by the 7.9 quake we had a few months ago. The middle school is one I used to go to, and the alternative middle schools are in either Peter’s Creek or Anchorage. Given that Eagle River has 40,000 plus residents, it’s nonsensical to make that many people drive so far just for a basic education. It’s not manipulation, it’s necessity. As far as I know, the ASD is incapable of having divine understanding of when quakes hit, and how much $ in damage they’d do.

      Also it’s repairs, not new buildings. At least read the article instead of being flabbergasted by headlines.

      https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/03/19/anchorage-school-board-votes-to-repair-two-quake-damaged-eagle-river-schools/

    • Seriously? We’ve known for almost 4yrs that State spending was far surpassing income. How can anyone say with a straight face that they were duped about State reimbursement of bond debt? When the State of Alaska runs multi-billion dollar deficits for 4yrs, Bond debt is always going on the chopping block.

      Heck, every time I vote, the ballot expressly states that State reimbursement isn’t guaranteed. 😉

      Yet, we somehow manage to keep voting to spend money. Alaska is now officially behind Mississipi in Education performance (We’re 47th) and yet we’re 5th in spending. Yet we are told we need to spend even more. I would say that before we spend more, we need to learn to spend better.

      https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings/education

      • Alaska has always been high in spending for a variety of reasons. If you recall from Alaska Studies, we give education not only to the major city centers but also in all sorts of remote villages. This bloats the budget, and there’s no real solution in sight. Some have proposed boarding schools, and at first glance, this approach seems coherent. Yet it receives fierce opposition from natives, why?
        Way back when, people actually implemented this idea. While the result was a success in its own right, the boarding schools treated students and their cultures horribly. In some cases, they weren’t allowed to speak their native tongue and were severely maltreated. This caused such a stigma around boarding schools among the native community that there has been no passing measure for reducing native education to only boarding schools.
        While people advocating to spend “smartly” in education for Alaska have their heart in the right place, the situation makes this agenda very difficult to do right.

    • Exactly! The ol’ bait and switch game. Use tax dollars to pay for pet projects they want, but taxpayers won’t bond for. Then leave the high visibility stuff unfunded like all things “for the children”, and ask the taxpayers to bond for it. Unbelievable that so many people fall for this ridiculous game.

  • Actually, the April bond election wouldn’t have been eligible for debt reimbursements anyway. We are in a moratorium until July 2020. Last 2 bonds were not eligible. Any after January 2015.

  • I’m glad that I moved to the valley. Besides more reasonable housing costs, I don’t have to worry about this big tax hike. The Troopers do a great job with public safety issues. My understanding from friends on the force is that they’re getting more people applying with that 7.5% pay raise they got from Walker and the 10% coming in this new budget.

  • Get over it!
    .
    Anchorage voters rolled over, played dead when their Assembly mandated mail-in voting.
    .
    Now through the miracles of ballot harvesting and unauthorized ballot “corrections”, no tax or bond will get left behind which is what living in Anchorage should be all about; hard-working folks struggling to give their all to support their government and their education industry.
    .
    What else is there, what other reason for life could possibly exist?

  • Susan,

    A good friend of mine emailed you evidence after the final proposition election numbers were posted that this entire vote-by-mail for all these propositions was apparently fraudulent. Imagine that!!! But you never replied or acknowledged him ?

    He used CH 2 KTUU’s own data for the official “TOTAL Yes/No” count for each proposition , and every total count for each proposition was different??? The degree of difference with these Yes/No totals for each proposition ranged from about 50 to well over 300.
    The only EXTREMELY IMPROBABLE way that could have happened is if certain people decided not to vote on certain propositions (not probable) OR deliberate fraud by deception perpetrated on every Anchorage property owner.

    My friend informed Ch 2 of his findings. They completely ignored him.

    You had a responsibility and an opportunity to look into this and address this matter involving a 7 million pound gorilla standing in the room but chose not to respond or shed any light on this critical information that Anchorage property owners needed.

    I’d like to give you another opportunity to look into this and address it.

    Thanks.

    • While I have no love of the mail in ballot. It is actually more “improbable” that the same number of people would vote for any two propositions. People don’t vote on all the choices on a ballot. Happens all the time. Either they don’t care or have no opinion so the choose not to sway the vote one way or another.

      • Respectfully disagree…
        .
        Mail in ballots can be corrected by the voter. The simple process for correcting your ballot is printed on the ballot.
        .
        Nothing prevents your ballot from being “corrected” after it leaves your possession.
        .
        Anchorage voters have no defense against ballot harvesting either.
        .
        Nothing prevents helpful folks from showing their aged, infirm, homeless, drunk, stoned, or dead neighbors how to mark their ballots correctly then gathering said ballots and mailing them…
        .
        to a place where amateur government handwriting experts, potentially compromised voter rolls, and a machine operating on proprietary software can decide whose vote counts.
        .
        So Anchorage voters could well be victims of a perfect racket to make sure no bond or tax gets left behind…
        .
        which, as you can imagine, does wonders for one’s caring or opinions about all things municipal.

      • That big of a voting discrepancy with each different proposition is very eye-opening. There needs to be a review of the physical ballots by a neutral entity to see just how many actual ballots had no markings. Trust but verify as Reagan once said. These individuals in control most people will hold such a passive attitude and not look into this issue. We need accountability restored in our cities and nation as a whole.

        James Madison, who wrote our Bill of Rights, observed, “All men having power ought to be distrusted.” We must learn the lessons of history. People in power, more often than not, abuse that power. To maintain our freedoms, this will mean challenging government officials whenever they exceed the bounds of their office.

        These mail in ballots need to be physically reviewed and verified. Otherwise, our election process is dead and certain individuals in politics will embrace this effective deception for all elections while we all just sit there asleep or playing with cell phones.

      • It does not happen all the time. Please produce some evidence of this statement.

        That big of a voting discrepancy with each different proposition is very eye-opening. There needs to be a review of the physical ballots by a neutral entity to see just how many actual ballots had no markings. Trust but verify as Reagan once said. These individuals in control most people will hold such a passive attitude and not look into this issue. We need accountability restored in our cities and nation as a whole.

        James Madison, who wrote our Bill of Rights, observed, “All men having power ought to be distrusted.” We must learn the lessons of history. People in power, more often than not, abuse that power. To maintain our freedoms, this will mean challenging government officials whenever they exceed the bounds of their office.

        These mail in ballots need to be physically reviewed and verified. Otherwise, our election process is dead and certain individuals in politics will embrace this effective deception for all elections while we all just sit there asleep or playing with cell phones.

    • Your friend is wrong. It has always been the case, both in Anchorage and elsewhere, that different things get different numbers of votes.

      Some people vote for the things they’re sure about and skip the things they’re not sure about, just like a test in school.

      • We incentivize corruption & deception when nothing is done to verify this kind of legitimate concern with mail-in-voting. Secondly, every thinking person who owns a home or property needs to view this serious issue for what it is – A REAL problem. Municipality officials created mail-in-voting for one reason only ! To have a means of easily controlling the propositions for more revenues while having total control of the final votes and the outcome of each prop. History is our ally folks and history is being repeated !!! *** Hence: Joseph Stalin: “It’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes.” How bloody convenient with the timing being extremely suspicious… All of which having NO “real” transparency at all – other than a hand full of people, muni officials and talking heads with KTUU, KTVA and other media sources going along by saying: Just TRUST us that 90% of these props past. Nothing to see here folks. *** Regardless of the fact that every single person I’ve talked with and the countless amounts of angry opinions being shared on the radio saying; NO WAY CAN I AFFORD MORE TAXES OR ANY OF THESE PROPS ! All a thinking person has to do is look at the “timing of this questionable push for mail-in-voting” along with the convenient timing when city revenues are drying up with no state reimbursements coming this time around. That adds up to desperate measures requiring desperate solutions to “forcibly past these props by deception” The Muni has to get more revenues at any cost. After all, no one has any guts to really question anything like this so this type of deception can easily go unchecked, unquestioned and unchallenged. This is why Anchorage will soon be going the way of Illinois, San Francisco and Detroit. People now are just too busy, too distracted or simply too ignorant or detached from any semblance of reality to question anything. The people perpetrating this realize this fact and that’s why this bold, brazen option is now in effect. We have allowed a cancer to gradually infiltrate our politics in Anchorage and throughout Alaska . We have become gutless and hesitant to question anything that needs to be questioned and it’s only a matter of time now. I’ve lived here for over 40 years and I am numb with disappointment over this complacent-liberal mindset that has consumed Anchorage.
        One more time: “It’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes.” – Joseph Stalin

    • WOW!!!! If this is true, are you going to follow up with this Susan? Fraudulent ballots!!!!??? Interesting that none of the numbers add up…wouldn’t you think that someone casting their ballot would vote on all proposals? Anyways from the largest ballots casted for proposal number nine was 55,599. But on proposal number 11 the total was 53,108 , a difference of 2,491! Are we to believe that 2,491 people decided not to cast their vote on that ballot? Why? Most people that vote are aware of the proposals and vote something on them, or do they really leave them blank? Anyways the closest of all of them was number two and three, only a difference of 15. What the heck is going on!? I smell a RAT! Channel 2 refused to respond to my email stating facts! Every voter needs to know this.

      • That big of a voting discrepancy with each different proposition is very eye-opening. There needs to be a review of the physical ballots by a neutral entity to see just how many actual ballots had no markings. Trust but verify as Reagan once said. These individuals in control most people will hold such a passive attitude and not look into this issue. We need accountability restored in our cities and nation as a whole.

        James Madison, who wrote our Bill of Rights, observed, “All men having power ought to be distrusted.” We must learn the lessons of history. People in power, more often than not, abuse that power. To maintain our freedoms, this will mean challenging government officials whenever they exceed the bounds of their office.

        These mail in ballots need to be physically reviewed and verified. Otherwise, our election process is dead and certain individuals in politics will embrace this effective deception for all elections while we all just sit there asleep or playing with cell phones.

    • We incentivize corruption & deception when nothing is done to verify this kind of legitimate concern with mail-in-voting. Secondly, every thinking person who owns a home or property needs to view this serious issue for what it is – A REAL problem. Municipality officials created mail-in-voting for one reason only ! To have a means of easily controlling the propositions for more revenues while having total control of the final votes and the outcome of each prop. History is our ally folks and history is being repeated !!! *** Hence: Joseph Stalin: “It’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes.” How bloody convenient with the timing being extremely suspicious… All of which having NO “real” transparency at all – other than a hand full of people, muni officials and talking heads with KTUU, KTVA and other media sources going along by saying: Just TRUST us that 90% of these props past. Nothing to see here folks. *** Regardless of the fact that every single person I’ve talked with and the countless amounts of angry opinions being shared on the radio saying; NO WAY CAN I AFFORD MORE TAXES OR ANY OF THESE PROPS ! All a thinking person has to do is look at the “timing of this questionable push for mail-in-voting” along with the convenient timing when city revenues are drying up with no state reimbursements coming this time around. That adds up to desperate measures requiring desperate solutions to “forcibly past these props by deception” The Muni has to get more revenues at any cost. After all, no one has any guts to really question anything like this so this type of deception can easily go unchecked, unquestioned and unchallenged. This is why Anchorage will soon be going the way of Illinois, San Francisco and Detroit. People now are just too busy, too distracted or simply too ignorant or detached from any semblance of reality to question anything. The people perpetrating this realize this fact and that’s why this bold, brazen option is now in effect. We have allowed a cancer to gradually infiltrate our politics in Anchorage and throughout Alaska . We have become gutless and hesitant to question anything that needs to be questioned and it’s only a matter of time now. I’ve lived here for over 40 years and I am numb with disappointment over this complacent-liberal mindset that has consumed Anchorage.
      One more time: “It’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes.” – Joseph Stalin

      • Now what do we do about it?

        • Hi Morrigan,

          1). First thing we all do. Talk with all friends, neighbors and family who own property and pay taxes in Anchorage. Discuss this entire matter with the timing of the mail-in-voting, the huge budget deficit/financial problems with Anchorage and the enormous discrepancies with the total count of each proposition. Its plausible that a few people did not vote on some issues but to have this huge disparity in YES/NO counts for each separate proposition is another thing. Many people I know also think this does not past the smell test, but also wonder what they can do about it. Many, many people are certainly thinking about this but of course – busy schedules and busy lives get in the way. Well, people need to find time for something this important.

          2). Then call Ch 11 – KTVA @ 274-1111
          and Ch 2 – KTUU @ 762-9202 or 762-9260. Request a story on this Mail-In-Ballot outcome, the concerns people have with inadequate transparency, the enormous discrepancies with the total YES/NO counts for each prop and that the physical ballots be thoroughly reviewed by a group of “UNBIASED, THIRD PARTY individuals to see how many physical ballots show YES or No boxes not checked. This should be very simple to do if there is a genuine willingness to do it. It needs to be done. Otherwise, we can most certainly look forward to most, if not ALL future propositions “conveniently” being past !
          *** Then watch our property taxes NEVER STOP increasing until we reach the point of more & more people literally being forced right out of their homes….

          “Trust but verify”
          – Ronald Reagan

          ” Our Bill of Rights, observed,
          “All men having power ought to be distrusted.” We must learn the lessons of history. People in power, more often than not, abuse that power. To maintain our freedoms, this will mean challenging government officials whenever they exceed the bounds of their office”.
          – James Madison

          *** That includes city and state governments.

  • If that is so, this article is just a “Red Herring?”

  • How many residents of Anchorage even know how much bonded indebtedness they currently have, and how much has not yet even been spent? And yet these same people who do not know these simple numbers will vote for even more bonded indebtedness.

  • Wonder how much money could be brought in, and therefore how much property taxes might be reduced if every property-owning non-profit in Anchorage city limits were forced to make payments in lieu of taxes?