Retirement in Alaska: A Fiscal Strategy for Stronger Family Bonds  

by Robert Yundt
March 18, 2024

To fully realize Alaska’s unique potential for families, we must address key challenges for our elders including the need for more senior-specific housing options & ensuring that fiscal policies support retirement planning without burdening those currently preparing for it.  

When I increased the property tax exemption in the Mat-Su Borough to 268K per year for Seniors & Disabled Veterans it was with the intention of making the Mat-Su Borough THE place they would choose to retire. I also tied the legislation to inflation so it would automatically adjust annually with the intention of protecting those on fixed incomes from the erosion of their dollar against inflation.  

If Covid taught us anything, it was how important it is to keep the family nucleus together. When day cares, schools & other public facilities closed their doors it was our elders who saved the day & helped their children with the grand babies.  

Now that I’m running for a Statewide office, I can’t help but think about the need to increase the minimum state property tax exemption of 150K so Seniors statewide can benefit as ours in the Mat-Su are now.  

In Alaska, one of the primary concerns facing our elders is access to suitable housing that meets their specific needs. By investing in the development of senior-specific housing options in Alaska, we can create communities tailored to support the well-being & independence of our aging population. These communities should be designed with accessibility features, healthcare services & recreational amenities in close proximity to promote active & healthy lifestyles.  

Moreover, we must avoid imposing additional taxes that disproportionately affect individuals saving for retirement or those who are already retired. Fiscal policies should encourage responsible financial planning & savings, incentivizing individuals to secure their retirement without undue financial strain & under no circumstances should we ever consider state income or sales taxes that hurt those on fixed incomes. At the same time we need to grow our economy statewide & create a stable environment for revenue so Legislators will stop stealing the PFD as their primary source of revenue. Many seniors & young families alike will benefit from doing so.  

Most importantly, fostering an environment so our elders can stay in Alaska strengthens family bonds & inter-generational relationships. Elders play a vital role in the family nucleus, offering wisdom, guidance, & support to younger generations. By being physically close, they can actively participate in raising & leading their grandchildren, contributing to their social, emotional, & educational development. This important inter-generational exchange enriches family dynamics & connectedness across generations.  

Choosing Alaska as a retirement destination also brings unique advantages over moving to the lower 48 states. Our pristine natural environment, abundance of outdoor activities, and strong sense of community offer unparalleled opportunities for active and fulfilling retirement lifestyles. Additionally, Alaska’s healthcare system continues to evolve, providing comprehensive services to meet the diverse needs of older adults.  

In closing, I believe enhancing elder retirement in Alaska requires a multifaceted approach that includes investing in senior-specific housing, implementing fiscally responsible policies & recognizing the importance of inter-generational relationships within families. By creating an environment that supports the well-being & active engagement of our elders, we not only enrich their lives but also strengthen the fabric of our communities & society as a whole, which is a huge win-win for all of us.  

I am a Republican candidate for State Senate Seat N in Wasilla. I am running with a core vision of statewide fiscal responsibility, family values & Alaska first policies that will benefit all Residents from every community & walk of life.  

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