Action Line: CBJ Commission on Aging reviews actions of Legislature affecting seniors

    Commission members discussed how the Legislature is impacting seniors while guests on Action Line Monday.

    Members of the CBJ Commission on Aging reviewed actions by Legislature this year that have impacted the state's seniors citizens while guests on Action Line Monday.

    Commission Chair MaryAnn VandeCastle and member Mary Lou Spartz were on the program.

    The Alaska Commission on Aging was extended. It was scheduled to sunset this year.

    "They were extended to 2024," VandeCastle announced. "Unfortunately, they lost two of their four staff positions. Hopefully something can be done about that in the future. They provide a lot of leadership on senior issues statewide."

    Vandecastle says there was a troubling development in regards to the budget for Pioneer's Homes.

    "Their budget was cut and also changed in the sense that someone came up with the idea of partially funding the Pioneer's Homes by instituting a $100 per year fee for being on the wait list. That also includes the inactive wait list, which some people are on for 25 years. You'd be paying $100 a year to remain on that list. If one year you couldn't afford the $100, you go back to the bottom of the list."

    She called that a terrible idea and urged seniors to speak up and contact their lawmakers and the Governor.

    The Alaska Municipal League continued to press the Legislature to change the Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption law that would provide local governments the ability not to offer it if they so chose.

    "The reason it went nowhere was because so many seniors spoke up," stated Spartz. "They contacted their legislators and said, "Don't do that to us." That particular provision was removed pretty quickly; it really does pay to speak up, folks."

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