Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Response to my Birthday Roast: February 23, 2005

Response to Rep. Richard Foster (Nome), roast of me on my birthday, February 23, 2005.
Mr. Speaker:

I want to thank the Representative from Nome. The opportunity to hear his birthday resumes, year after year, his one of the reasons why we all try to get re-elected. Trust me when I say that – after all, if you can’t trust a politician, whom can you trust?

Well, I’m very happy to be here celebrate my 72nd birthday – at my age I’m very happy to be anywhere, and getting older sure beats the alternative.

I many things to be thankful for: 6 kids, 17 grandkids, and one great-grandchild. And speaking of kids, I checked it out again this year: There are 40 members in this chamber, and I’m old enough to be the parent of 19 of you – but in the spirit of full disclosure, I’m happy to report, and you’ll be happy to know, I’m not – I repeat not – related to any of you. My wife will also be happy to know that.

There’s two really nice things about being old enough to be a grandparent. I have the great pleasure of hearing my kids complain about the behavior of their children –and revenge is sweet. Their kids are doing the same to them, as my kids did to me.

The other nice thing about being older, as that get I carded in the capitol building, and I get geezer discounts everyplace I go, and I have a “geezer card” so I don’t pay a sales tax in Juneau.
Well thank you for helping me celebrate my birthday, and God Bless all of you!

Monday, February 14, 2005

Blame it on Claudius: February 14, 2005

Mr. Speaker, my topic is "Blame it on Claudius."

We spend a lot of money on candy and flowers and we can blame it on the Roman Emperor Claudius II. The Barbarians were invading the Roman Empire, and Claudius had a difficult time recruiting good soldiers. Apparently he had a volunteer army, same as we do today.

Claudius thought married men couldn’t be good soldiers, apparently because their wives kept them too busy washing the dishes, and taking out the garbage, to fight - so Claudius outlawed marriage. He was a dictator, so he didn’t have to worry about getting the ban against marriage getting through a “Family Values” legislature.

A Bishop named Valentine, later known as Saint Valentine, came to the rescue. In the best tradition of the separation of church and state, Bishop Valentine married young men and women in defiance of the emperor. When Claudius discovered what the bishop was doing, he had him arrested and thrown in jail to be executed. While the Bishop Valentine was in jail, by a miracle he cured his jailor’s daughter of blindness. Just before he was executed, he asked for a pen and paper and wrote a farewell note to the girl he cured, and signed it “From your Valentine.” The year was 270 AD.

Nowadays, if you don’t properly observe St. Valentine’s – it’s your life that could be in danger. So Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Number One Concern: February 2005

An article published in the south Anchorage Community PPulse

by Bob Lynn
Representative for House District 31

I enjoy phoning constituents. I’m already up to more than a hundred calls since the beginning of this session on January 10th. I usually begin the phone call with the question, “Do you have any questions, complaints, or concerns?”

I get some very interesting responses on a variety of subjects, and it’s always helpful. The better the communication the better the representation. Favorite topics of my constituents used to involve the fiscal plan (or lack thereof), location of the capitol, and other perennial questions.

This year, however, there’s a shift in constituent concerns, at least in my South Anchorage District 31. About every third constituent vents their frustration, anger, and even fear, about increased residential property taxes. When constituents speak I listen.

A middle aged constituent I phoned last week expressed his fear, shared by many, of becoming “property poor.” When he retires he’ll have a fixed income. As his property value increases, his property tax bill will become a higher and higher percentage of his income. The bottom line: if property taxes continue to climb without some kind of relief to homeowners, we’ll start chasing people out of the state.

Obviously, our first priority must be to maintain disabled veteran and senior property tax exemptions. We should also consider raising those exemptions (I hereby report a conflict of interest. I’m a senior!), especially since the elimination of the longevity bonus.
In anticipation of screams from municipalities, I don’t think onerous property tax is strictly a municipal issue and that state legislators should keep their nose out of the problem. When homeowners get hurt, everybody in the state suffers, and I’m a state representative. I’m a strong believer in local control, but I also believe Alaska is one big family and we need to work together to resolve family problems. I have some recommendations.

First of all, lower the property tax appeal fee to 20 bucks, and do away with the fee for seniors and the disabled. The fee in Anchorage is currently $100 for most homes.

The municipality also puts the entire burden of proof that a property assessment is too high on the shoulders of the homeowner. Documents to “prove” the assessor was “wrong” must be submitted on a 15 day deadline or the appeal will be dismissed. Such requirements are a hardship for most homeowners, and discourage appeals (which may be the intent).

The paperwork and complexity involved in filing a property tax appeal is comparable to appealing your federal income tax liability. Come on now, is any of this fair or reasonable for someone’s 80 year old grandmother living alone?

Secondly, reduction of state revenue hurts Anchorage and contributes to high property taxes. Something needs to be done. Let’s consider using a portion of state earnings from the 424 million dollar Amerada Hess Fund (about 30 million a year) to help fund state revenue sharing to Anchorage and other municipalities and help lower property taxes.

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