The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly Proposes to Change a Property Tax Exemption

Mitch Borden/KMXT

Across the state of Alaska, thousands of people qualify for The Senior Citizen /Disabled Veteran’s Property Tax Exemption. The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly is making a proposal that could potentially limit who gets this tax break.

This exemption can take $150,000 off the assessed value of a residential property, which can decrease a person’s property tax by thousands. Assemblyman Kyle Crow put forward this resolution because he thinks this exemption needs to be more selective. He believes it’s unfair in its current form. This is how he explains it.

“President Trump decides moves to Kodiak. He’s a billionaire by his own admission. But if he lived in Kodiak he would get an exemption of $150,000 on the value of his property. While someone that’s making $15 an hour working at the cannery or working on the back of a fishing boat has to pay up that difference.”

Crow says those who don’t qualify for the exemption pay higher property taxes to compensate for the tax break. According to him, when the state originally mandated communities provide this exemption, it reimbursed them the tax revenue they lost, and it was only for the disadvantaged. But those provisions were eventually removed.

“Now what we’re doing is providing exemptions without a means basis. Not even considering their economic need. Just strictly on the basis that they qualify by virtue of being over 65 or a quote disabled veteran.”

Widows and widowers of a qualified individual who are 60 or older, also qualify for this tax break.

Bill Roberts, the borough assessor, says there are more than 600 people benefiting from this policy in the region. The total value of their exemption is more than $900,000 in tax revenue. Crow says the goal of his resolution is to reinstate some sort of assessment statewide to ensure those who need this exemption get it and those who don’t — pay their fair share.

In a 5 to 2 vote, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly decided to submit this proposal to the Alaska Municipal League. If it’s approved by the league, it’ll be introduced to the state legislature as a resolution.


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