Anchorage voters could decide fate of proposed sales, alcohol taxes
Anchorage voters rejected a proposed alcohol tax back in April 2019. They may get another chance with it one year later.
A large crowd filled the Wilda Marston Theater at the Loussac Library Tuesday night, as they gathered for the first of three public hearings regarding which of three tax proposals could end up on the April 7 ballot.
Two of the tax proposals dealt with an alcohol tax. One is a 5% tax expected to raise up to $15 million a year. The money would be used for public safety, addiction treatment and domestic violence prevention.
The second alcohol tax would be limited to health and homeless issues.
"What other business is able to take the waste from their product, and put it out on the street, and expect the municipality and the property taxpayers to come and clean it up for them," said Jeff Jessee who supports the tax. "I can't even push the excess snow from my driveway into the street and have the municipality move it."
Not everyone agreed.
"The guest, be it the tourist or the local, is only going to pay so much for that product and service. So, where do we get that cost?" asked Patrick Hoogerhyde, co-owner of Bridge Seafood Restaurant.
The third tax proposal would implement a temporary sales tax of 3% for five years. The money from it would be used for public safety and to offset property taxes.
"I certainly support the fire department, I certainly support the police department, but I do not support throwing more money at problems that need to be solved, and money is not going to solve it," Christine Hill said. "And I say very simply, no more BS. No more becoming Seattle."
Another town hall took place Wednesday from 6 - 7:30 p.m. at Chugiak High School, where people also had different opinions on the proposals.
"I don't want any taxes. You spend the money that you've got, and then that's it," said Eagle River resident Jo-Al Hintz.
Hillside resident Paul Perkins said the seasonal sales tax was an interesting idea. "I'm all about taxes that are constructive though for the citizens. I'm all on board with taxing people during the summer and still giving us relief in the winter for those who actually live here," he said.
Dan Page from Eagle River said, "When it comes to the alcohol tax, how many bites of the apple do we get on this thing before we decide that people don't want it?"
The final meeting takes place Thursday from 6:30 - 8 p.m. at the Girdwood Community Room.
The Anchorage Assembly is expected to decide if any of the proposals will make it on the ballot at its Jan. 14 meeting at 5 p.m. in the Assembly Chambers at the Loussac Library.
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