Sales tax for Mat-Su?
People living in the Mat-Su Borough will likely be hearing about a proposed sales tax to help fund education.
The Mat-Su Borough School Board voted for the resolution in March and the proposal will be introduced at Tuesday evening’s Assembly meeting. Assembly Member Jim Sykes says there will be a public hearing scheduled for sometime in August. If approved, it will be placed on the October ballot.
“A lot of people recognize we’re in uncharted territories,” Sykes said in an interview. “This is a lot different.”
The school board’s resolution from March states the Mat-Su Borough School District “is projecting a $11 million deficit in FY 2018”. According to the resolution, this would be an area-wide sales tax “that supplements the current per pupil funding amount adjusted for inflation”. An ordinance document says it would be a 3 percent sales tax. Sykes said that number could change if there are several amendments made to it.
Sykes says the topic of a sales tax hasn’t been an easy discussion in the past and as the different parties discuss the issue. He says he’s been stressing to keep it simple.
“Because the sales tax has been tried as an idea three times before and the voting public has not only said no, but hell no and it’s failed,” he said.
The proposal is in its early stages, but some who have heard about it are having mixed reactions.
“Adding on more sales tax could potentially be detrimental to businesses inside city limits for certain goods people may not want to pay more tax on,” Ailis Vann, a resident and yoga studio owner from Palmer, said.
Palmer currently has a three-percent sales tax. Wasilla has a two-percent sales tax.
“I know that we need to fund education and everything, too,” Vann said.
Teresa Roy, who owns Cover Ups Design, says she doesn’t feel an additional sales tax will be a burden for her.
“How it does affect business, though, is because of our proximity to Anchorage,” Roy said. “Them not having a sales tax starts affecting those smaller communities where people have a choice to shop here in Palmer or in Anchorage.”
Houston also has a sales tax, but its mayor says the council hasn’t decided if it would support or be against the ordinance. She said it was too soon to tell what the impact would be in their area.