Letters to the Editor

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SENIORS: Higher costs hitting fixed incomes

Letter by Kathleen S. Bozung, Tacoma on Feb. 15, 2011 at 11:15 am with 19 Comments »
February 15, 2011 2:01 pm

In the past week, we have received three bills all having increases in amount owed, with no increases in our benefits from the creditors.

Our home insurance increased 24 percent since last year, our utility bill and cable/Internet bills increased substantially, and property taxes are up 4.37 percent. The cost of auto fuel has increased 38.3 percent over last year.

We understand that we can control some of our expenses by turning down the heat, using less water, changing to basic cable and Internet, but that is not the entire point.

We are senior citizens, on fixed incomes. Because of the general opinion that the cost of living has not increased, there was no increase in our Social Security, and our meager pensions have no cost-of-living increases.

If these increases in goods and taxes continue in the next few years, I don’t know if I will be able to afford our home, medicine or food. How about a tax break for seniors on fixed incomes who have paid taxes for 45-plus years?

Leave a comment Comments → 19
  1. Great letter Kathleen.

    Too much emphasis/funding has gone to a large segment of our society that has never put anything (or in the case of the wealthy, too little) into the pot.

    The rich don’t worry about rising costs and they have plenty of representation in Congress to insure the IRS looks at their wealth differently (I would say more favorably) than those of us who work for wages and get a W-2. The poor who put in very little or nothing don’t worry because it’s all free to them and they have liberal bleeding hearts to make sure they are kept fed, clothed, housed, and receive free medical care.

    The working middle class are the ones this recession and accompanying inflation is eating alive – and we are already at our limit for paying more taxes.

    Your letter provides those of us still working for a living a stark picture of what we can expect down the road facing retirement and living on a fixed income.

  2. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Socialism for the non-contributors has proven a failure in every society however, our ignorant electorate continues to pursue more living costs based on a minimal contribution to society. Those who have been responsible tax paying citizens for the last 50+ years should be exempt from increases to the taxes on their residence!! Moving a significant number of manufacturring companies overseas is not heping the middle class stay employed and pay for the government and infrastructure that society believes they are owed!! Stand by for continued reductions to COLAS, means testing for social security & medicare, and higher age requirements for social security & medicare!

  3. BigSwingingRichard says:

    Where do you live?

    In Tacoma there is a program for seniors to qualify for reduced property taxes based on low income and it may apply to Pierce County residents also. Contact the assessors office or check the web-site.

    Good Luck.

  4. the3rdpigshouse says:

    BigS – don’t care how much the retired seniors make – they have paid and should not still be paying property tax for their primary residence!

  5. 3rd pig — One could argue that retired old folks don’t really need 1200 square feet for just two of them (I looked up their house on the county website.) They could sell their house and move into something smaller and more affordable if they wanted.

  6. the3rdpigshouse says:

    ron – if they so desired however, do you think that they should move as a result of being taxed out of their home?? We can maybe become like the socialist countries some of our local whack-jobs envy and the gov’t will build little 500 sq ft or less little condos for the old throw-aways??!

  7. eagle_beak says:

    Ms. Bozung, i totally understand your position as am living it myself.
    for problem solving, there are many that just want to throw more and more money at a problem……. which always translates into more and more taxes.
    with costs for everything increasing and so much it does become hard to decide which basic necessity to do without……
    meanwhile while the government keeps spending we struggle with how to pay for cancer treatment…… no one is giving us any handout and we are used to paying our own way, but am wondering how little savings will be left after all this. if more of us speak out, as you have, our voices may be heard.

  8. BigSwingingRichard says:


    Not having to pay property taxes sounds like a great idea, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen, not in this tax happy State.

  9. witchiwoman says:

    Great idea Kathleen. I think it’s a crime to tax social security benefits.

  10. 3rd pig — No, I don’t think they should be taxed out of their home, but if we cut their tax rate we have to raise taxes for the rest of us. Every tax break for one person has to be picked up by someone else. Is it any more fair for me and my family to be taxed out of our home? Kids need room to move and play more than adults do.

    witchi — I’m right with you there.Since you paid income taxes on the money you contributed to the SSI fund it isn’t right you should have to pay taxes on the same money when you take it back out.

  11. commoncents says:

    As a poster said…there is an exemption available for seniors who make less than 35k.

    I’m wondering if folks who say taxes are already too high would be wiling to have their property tax values frozen at todays value IF the value of that home was frozen as well…ie sales price can’t exceed todays market value (or better yet…anything over today’s market value gets escheated to the state). Doubtful that they would be willing but you never know….

  12. the3rdpigshouse says:

    As long as the Washington electorate continues to elect & reelect socialist democrats to run the State – ever increasing taxes are your life!

  13. omega629 says:

    Well maybe you can work for the city of tacoma putting up that Hideous Pagoda that is costing over 600,000!!! What a waste!!

  14. Why are you surprised? Obama said he is for higher gas (and energy) prices.

  15. Roncella says:

    Kathleen, I feel your pain. Some of the posters telling you about a reduction in your property taxes using an excemption form, is good advice, however what they are forgetting is everything is going up.

    In our home, utilities keep going higher and higher, gas for the car it well over 3.00 a gal. and raising, insurance in creeping up each year, house upkeep is getting more expensive, ie, painting and fixing etc.. food costs are going up almost monthly, the beat goes on.

    We have far too many millionaires in the Congress, they have lifetime pensions and a special healthcare package high wages, many are lawyers, they are removing themselves from actually understanding what the average retired person or middleclass person has to do to survive in todays economy.

    The democrats/liberals. just go right on taxing and spending for everthing they can think of and the republicans are lacking the couage to fight for the middleclass or seniors.

  16. Roncella says:

    spelling alert/ sorry for so many spelling errors in my post above, my fingers move faster then should some times. “Courage”, something lacking in so many of our elected Politicians, its disappointing and sad.

  17. The only one worried about spelling is the spelling hypocrite who now presides in Idaho.

  18. Roncella — My point was that prices are going up for everybody, not just seniors. If we fix costs for one group to insulate them against discomfort, the difference must be made up by other people. My insurance premiums, property taxes, and utility rates are going up as well. I’ve had to figure out how to pay higher bills (for less service) with a smaller income for the past 3 years. A lot of us have. It’s unreasonable for the letter writer to think her demographic is the only one learning to get by on less.

  19. truthbusterguy says:

    It would help if you stopped approving the wasteful school, park, fire and other bonds in Tacoma. You liberal ways are breaking the bank. Stop voting for the entitlement society and the democrats that support it. Entitlements will be our downfall.

    Gig Harbor was a good start saying no to PSD property tax Bonds and PT bussales tax increase

    McDonalds is hiring.

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