A full-court press for taxes - Must Read Alaska
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Friday, August 14, 2020
HomeAnchorage Daily PlanetA full-court press for taxes

A full-court press for taxes


With the city putting on a full-court press to rake in more money from a proposed 5 percent retail alcohol tax and two general sales taxes, you have to wonder what kind of spending the new levies would underwrite.

Here’s one thing: New tax revenues would pay for a “full-time public engagement officer and/or consultant” who would “do the following engagement activities,” the Assembly says:

• Create and maintain a scrolling agenda for Assembly meetings;
• Work on a newsletter format for Assembly members;
• Social media outreach;
• Fact sheets on various ordinances or topics as appropriate; and,
• Press releases on agendas, town halls, ordinances, etc.to keep the public informed.

In other words, the Assembly would get a new flack. How in the world did the city get along all this time without one for the Assembly? How is it the members of the Assembly cannot do their own newsletter formats, or social media outreach or come up with fact sheets and press releases and such?

Why should taxpayers have to hire somebody do it?

The tax proposals which sprang up out of no place just in time for the holidays, include the already-rejected, but dusted off and reborn 5 percent retail tax on alcohol. It supposedly would bring in up to $15 million a year. Voters would be asked to again exempt the tax from the city charter’s required 60 percent-vote to allow adoption by simple majority.

Then, there is the proposed “temporary” 3 percent general sales tax to raise $375 million over five years to pay for mostly downtown capital projects. Who are its backers? Who is funding the effort to put the tax on the ballot? Who knows?

Finally, there is a six-year, 3 percent sales tax offered by Chugiak-Eagle River Assemblyman Fred Dyson. It would offset property taxes and fund public safety, he says.

All of that would be in addition to the $1 billion the city is about to receive for the sale of the Municipal Light & Power utility to Chugach Electric.

The desire to hire a flack for the Assembly with the proposed tax proceeds only underscores the fact that these sales taxes are being pushed by those pushing a “want” agenda, not a “need” agenda.

If one of the levies actually makes the ballot in April, voters should tell the Assembly to do its own work.

Read more of the Anchorage Daily Planet at this link.

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Latest comments

  • Fred Dyson is out of touch with his constituency. Fred recently came out in support of a proposed $80 million middle school.
    Demographics have changed in Chugiak Eagle River. One out of every other home in my subdivision has a least one person who is retired.
    Big change from 50 years ago in Chugiak Eagle River. School enrollment declining to 1990’s levels gives one pause about spend spend spend!
    3% Sales Tax with a Sunset, Yah you Betcha, checks in in the mail and we get paid twice on Friday.
    Heard it all before. Sunset a tax? Come on, Fred.
    Further Does anyone really believe that a sales tax will offset the current property rate?
    Once programs are tied to a money source it is cast in stone.
    No one has to go any further than to review the SOA Medicaid/ Obamacare for all program. Once a program is in place, good luck shutting it down.

  • The clerk’s office and budget have been steadily growing for years. It is time to put on the brakes rather than it continuing to grow. That plus the Assembly angling for a big raise in pay. Should they really have their salaries doubled? If I were on the Assembly, I would consider it continued public service. No pay required.

  • Surprise, more Socialism. People need to put their foot down. Seymour Marvin Mills Jr. sui juris

  • “Temporary” and “tax” are often used before the implementation of a new tax. But that first word is rarely heard from again. “Pay no attention to the history behind the curtain!”

  • What a joke. A “full-time public engagement officer and/or consultant.” Stupid. Wasteful. Unnecessary. Payback for a friend? Political operative to spin events for the voters?

    This reminds me of the “Communications Director” for Kenai Peninsula Borough Schools, Pegge Erkeneff. Why does this school district act like it’s a Fortune 500 company? All those administrators went to college and should be able to write their own news and updates for the community. This person draws a BIG salary as “Director of Communications, Community, and Government Relations” despite being completely unnecessary. One of her big accomplishments is the fake news in the Peninsula Clarion last spring when she was the spin master for Homer High School after their political “pep” rally. She was NOT in Homer the day this went down, yet she commented for the school as if she knew what really happened. She didn’t. She was simply damage-control for administrators and said whatever they told her to say.

    If the Anchorage Assembly gets their requested taxes, it will be like giving cookies to Cookie Monster or meth to an addict. There will never be enough.

  • That’s what happens when you elect a bunch of liberals/democrats… they have never met at tax that they didn’t like!

  • Reading/hearing about new taxes for Anchorage and Alaskans in general, via Anchorage tax, fee, tariff, public employee monetary increases, etc., is turning into a frequent experience. Lately, hardly a day goes by without the announcement of more and new taxes to be heaped upon the burden of the almost suffocating Anchorage citizens. Citizens statewide will feel the pain with the tariff increase for commodities that ship through the port of Anchorage. Except “public” employees. They seem to immediately receive a “cost of living” increase to alleviate the pain of tax increases, courtesy of the “public” that employs them. Either that or they receive some sort of tax exemption (like the exemption for social security). I don’t believe I know of any other occupation that has that benefit or a retirement like the “public” employees, with no personal contributions to their retirement account. It’s all a “benefit” for them. When the financial bells toll and Alaska is broke, what then? Alaska is on that road right now, with Anchorage in the lead.

  • The mayor and assembly can kiss off. No new or increase on any taxes. The mayor would just give his union buddy’s the money. I hope there are still some common sense people left to vote no and the lib’s out. If not then tax to the max to get peoples attention tax everything we have go for it and see what happens. Conservatives need to get engaged.

  • Didn’t they pass a tobacco tax a few years ago and the money was to go to stop smoking programs. I recall that very little is being used for that purpose. An alcohol tax will go into the general fund just like the tobacco did and they will spend it on anything they want.

  • And he wants some of the dividend.

  • Anchorage is broke and the last two administrations caused it and the current one is fallowing in the same foot steps!!!

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