Berkowitz’ civil emergency: He can blow through the tax cap


When Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz declared a state of civil emergency because of State budget cuts, Anchorage residents were mystified: What did he intend to do?

The answer has become clear:

Raise taxes in Anchorage. Section 14 of the Municipal cCode says he can exceed the tax cap if there’s a civil emergency and if he has 8 votes on the Anchorage Assembly. He has 9 votes.

There’s no limit to how much he can raise those taxes.

On Friday, the Assembly will meet at 11:30 am to discuss ratifying Berkowitz’ civil emergency for up to 60 days. After that, the Assembly can continue the emergency so long as there are the 8 votes. That’s under Section 10 of the Municipal Code.

Berkowitz was torqued when in April, voters turned down Proposition 9, his proposal to tax alcohol 5 percent in order to pay for more homeless services, including the building of more shelters for the city’s unsheltered.

“This isn’t leadership. He wants people to riot over all these issues. But these issues existed before the State budget was cut,” said Rebecca Logan, who ran against Berkowitz in 2017. “They were already happening because of his lack of leadership. The thought of reducing the municipal budget to accommodate the reduction in state budget never crossed his mind. This is a money grab.”

Read the earlier story here:

Berkowitz declares state of civil emergency



  1. Wonder what Mayor ‘Nothing to report’ will do when the ‘los Anchorage’ residents start to toss the tea into the harbor?

    • Tom, he would hire more employees for tea patrol to compliment his poop patrol. A Democrat’s creed is to keep hiring more bureaucrats.

  2. Who is surprised that this is the depth this mayor will go to override the tax cap?

    Exploiting people in poverty for political gain is the definition of sleazy…

  3. What address do I use to send my contribution of a case of double thick poop-wipe to Berkowitz’s office?

  4. Berkowitz was elected by a wide margin if memory serves, folks in Anchorage must be cool with his direction, oh wait, that silly alcohol tax vote?, well thank goodness Chairman Ethan has the “moral courage” to right that wrong!

  5. So the clear insinuation of this little piece is that the Mayor wants to raise local taxes in order to do more for homeless people. Not quite.

    The are other matters at hand, such as the need to repay Alaska bondholders (like me) for debt that is no longer going to be paid for by the State. I’d say this approach is much more that of a fiscal realist than a bleeding-heart liberal wanting to coddle the homeless.

    I must say that the MRA readers (and authors) contributing here are amongst the most cynical people I’ve ever come across. The way you disparage the homeless is shameful, especially as you sit in nice warm homes and solve the world’s problems with your keyboards. One only hopes that you are never on the receiving end of the “tough love” treatment you so ardently advocate.

    Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me (Matthew 25:40).

    • Spare some of your anger for the bond ballots that were sold to the voters under such repayment presumptions. The educated voter realized that the ever growing push to use bonds for projects (ala ASD maintenance) under this premise was dangerous and now here we are – hate to say we told you so.

    • At least we make sure that we do not become homeless. So now you are going to criticize the people who are savvy enough to ensure that we are able to provide for ourselves with out the government assistance. You want to pay more in taxes you have every right to send them an additional check.

  6. Why doesn’t Anchorage institute a local sales and make the muni less dependent on state largesse? It seems like a simple solution to me. I’m sure all the leftists on the assembly can find a way around getting voter approval. Make it small enough and cap it like other cities do and the voters might even go for it. But it seems this isn’t even being considered as an option.

    • Erik,
      Any tax instituted on the premise it will never be raised is a fools tax. No tax anywhere has survived a “cap”. History will tell anyone who considers it, when Calvin Coolidge instituted the income tax to fund America’s participation in WW1, he promised it would never go above 3% for American taxpayers. See anything wrong with that promise? Promises mean nothing to politicians except a means to fool citizens into voting for them. Even Napoleon saw that: “To succeed as a politician, promise everything, deliver nothing”. Napoleon’s words. Tax cap? No such thing. Look what little ethan just did to shred the Anchorage tax cap.

      • Calvin Coolidge had nothing to do with the 16th Amendment or using it to fund WWI. In fact, he wasn’t even President until almost five years after WWI.

        • Pardon my mistake boys. I got my presidents mixed up. The federal income tax was proposed by the Taft administration in 1909 and was not officially ratified until 1913, still under the Taft administration. At the time, it was not to go above 2%. It did. Then Coolidge promised it wouldn’t go above 3%.

  7. What else can Ethan do but raise taxes?
    Both the Dems and Republicans have stonewalled any attempt at lowering “tax credits” to oil producers at the Legislature level and elites in both parties are also against a fair income tax, so property owners will fit the bill for “corporate welfare” paid to oil and gas producers throughout the state.

    • What else can he do? Seriously? Let’s start with he can stop spending other people’s money like it’s going out of style.

        • You do know that government is what it is because the people, through their elected representatives, want those services. And it’s not just a wave of a wand that gets government smaller because you want lower taxes-many are wanting those services and are willing to pay for them.
          It’s a process that takes time to really find out what is affordable, when push comes to shove. This may turn out to be that time but it will take time to determine which services are on the chopping block IMO. You don’t like it that way, run for your assembly.

          • This is simply the most asinine statement about how government operates that I have ever seen. It excuses everything other than growing government. It is what it is because the people want services…so when people want stuff they get it at the wave of a wand (what the mayor of the largest city in Alaska just did) but when people want less it takes time, what? I take it back, this isn’t the most asinine comment ever on how government works, this is exactly how government works. It never takes government anytime to figure out what anything costs, they simply pay whatever it takes to get what they want.

            The reason sane people who understand how budgets work do not sign a blank check over to the government is for the very reason you have laid out here.

            Please feel free to call me names since you cannot debate your failed talking points Bill.

          • Boy Four-flusher, you have pretty well described how you have no idea how government works but yet think you are on top of it. Heheh!

  8. Let’s keep all the money spending liberals on the assembly so they can tax us even more. I cannot wait to see what kind of new tax they can come up with to thwart the will of the people to keep the tax cap

    • You do realize that these folks are elected by the people and not by some group out to “thwart the will of the people.”
      Do you even think about what you say? It should make some sense, Tony.

      • You do realize that the tax cap is the will of the people?

        Do you even think about what you say? If you did, it should make some sense, Bill.

        • Yessir Four-flusher and these emergencies are also designed to support the “will of the people.” This can be looked at similarly to “overrides” of the “will of the people.”
          Surely you don’t have a problem with this sort of thwarting of the will of the people. Heheh!
          It’s the law-government by the people, for the people.

  9. Please help us try and rein in our snowflake Mayor. His theatrics are better suited for Seattle or San Francisco. A once solvable problem has now escalated to become a “hair on fire” platform to shout for a civil emergency. We have become the second most dangerous city in the US when considering property crime. Our homeless population have become an elite society exempt from the laws that protect the greater population.
    There is not a single program, project or government entity that is designed to lessen the homeless problem. Every solution is a way to maintain or increase the problem. We need to have our entire society obey the rules of law. We need programs that will lessen the problem, not maintain or increase it.
    I do not know how a lone voice of reason is going to accomplish this, but I wish you the best of luck.
    One more good reason to push the Eaglexit plan.

  10. This is what happens when you elect a dirt eating Communist from Berkeley, Kalifornia.


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