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Billy Ray Powers - Midtown

March 23, 2011

Name: Billy Ray Powers

Occupation: Pipe welder, Real-estate Broker, Pilot 

Website: billyraypowers.com

Registered Political Party: Republican (Libertarian)

Last book you read: Gentle Giants - Past Present, and Future of the Heavy Horse

Favorite movie: Pay it Forward 

Why are you running for the Anchorage Assembly?: City spending and taxes have more than doubled in the last seven years. Families and businesses are not able to responsibly plan around this craziness. 

What one sentence best describes your philosophy of how city government should be run?: Government at all levels should be Predictable, Dependable, Fair, Long lasting, and Small. 

What letter grade would you give the current assembly, and why?: F The majority (Socialist Six) are financing campaigns with contributions from public employee unions and soliciting votes from members. The majority on the assembly are bought and paid for by unions, and think they represent the unions. Assemblymen are actually supposed to represent the TAXPAYER! I have no issue with fellow citizens associating with unions they are just trying to make a better living for their families. I have no issue with union boss negotiators that is what they are paid to do. The taxpayer needs some representation. The current assembly majority is a holdover from the union contract and taxation runaway of the Begich years.

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What letter grade would you give Mayor Sullivan's administration, and why?: B He is pointed in a better direction but taxes still went up, and police work is still at times being done for no other reason than to generate revenue. A city assembly that represents the people will help him greatly. 

What are your thoughts on the 2008 union contracts approved by the Assembly? Is there a link to those contracts and the city's current fiscal situation?: Mark Begich and the assembly majority were owned by the unions in 2008 and still are. The taxpayer was not represented during the Begich years. Our current fiscal situation is clearly linked to but not completely a result of those contracts. Our current fiscal situation is more about runaway growth of government and government regulation, which stifles business and investment both personal and business in our community. The previous administration rode the housing bubble and grew taxation as the bubble grew. They went on an unprecedented spending spree. Many homes are now being taxed at double, triple, quadruple, and beyond what they were before Begich and this assembly.    

What are your thoughts on the budget reductions proposed by Mayor Sullivan over the past two years? Are they too much? Not deep enough? A right amount?: Not deep enough.

What city services would you like to see reinstated, and how would you suggest they are paid for?: None

Are property taxes too high? What consideration should be given to alternative taxes like the tobacco tax, or a sales tax?: Property taxes are to high, no one can actually own a home in Anchorage because taxes are not predictable and can not ever be paid off. The city can raise your taxes and take your house if you can't pay. Tobacco tax is "Taxation Without Representation". (no representation for smokers) we should not single out small groups of citizens and impose special taxes on them. Who will be next? Sales tax is fair and no-one will have their home taken away. But we must get our city spending problem under control first.    

What is the most important issue affecting the city as a whole?: Affordable energy, Private sector employment, Inadequate education, Nanny state growth and spending. 

What is the most important issue facing your district more than other districts?: Tax and spend assembly members that are sponsored by public sector unions.

Challengers (non-incumbents) -- What specifically will you bring to the assembly that your incumbent opponent has/will not?: Fiscal responsibility, win-win solutions for union, non-union employees and taxpayers I should say win-win-win. More effective schools offering better educational opportunities (we need to completely change the model) 

Should the municipality require mandatory photo identification for all customers purchasing alcohol at package liquor stores? Why or why not?: No. Bars and liquor are already encumbered by incredible liability, more is not necessary.

Should an agency other than the Anchorage Police Department be allowed to issue parking tickets to vehicles parked downtown? Why or why not?: No. Publicly owned parking downtown should be free anyway. 

Should the city extend the disabled veteran property tax exemption to widows and widowers? Why or why not?: No. We need to get away from onerous property taxes that are being imposed on everyone, not just disabled veteran widows. We need to get control of city spending, and then go to a sales tax. 

The last municipal election had the lowest voter turnout in at least 20 years.  Why should people head to the polls and vote on April 5?: The taxes that are strangling our community are insidious in that very few citizens evan see the bill. Most people have mortgages where the bank pays the tax so the taxpayer just thinks the bank is gouging them. Renters never see there tax bill so they think the landlord is gouging them. The fact is we all pay unless we are making welfare a way of life. Politicians are building careers on the backs of taxpayers because of the hidden nature of our taxes. For this reason people should go vote!!!! Please vote.

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