By BOB MAIER
Once again, “It is all about the children.”
Proposition 14 on the April 4 Anchorage municipal ballot, which voters will see this week in the mail, proposes to amend the Municipal Charter by removing the taxation on marijuana from the tax cap calculation.
In Anchorage, the terms for the commercial sale and marketing for marijuana were approved by voters with the express promise in the ballot language that the new revenue provided by the taxation would fall under the Anchorage tax cap.
Here we are just a few years later with a proposition before us to be voted upon that will back-track on the ballot language that was approved by voters.
In 2023 the taxation on marijuana received by the Municipality will roughly be $6 million, which will reduce the burden on property taxpayer’s dollar for dollar. If passed, Prop 14 will result in an increase of $68 in the annual property tax bill on a home with a $400,000 valuation with the removal of the $6 million from the tax cap according to numbers provided by the Municipality.
This information is not included in the ballot language.
Make no mistake about it, despite the way it is being sold, Proposition 14 is a property tax increase.
So, just what does Prop 14 propose? The ballot language dedicates the revenue from the marijuana tax to be utilized for “Child Care and Early Education” along with creating an “Accountability Board of Child Care and Early Education.”
Do we really need to create more bureaucracy in our education system?
If Prop 14 passes, this new “Accountability Board” will surely have the need for increased revenue as their number one priority for this brand-new Anchorage Municipal program.
In 2009 voters approved the “Repair Our Tax Cap Initiative” with a 62% margin, reversing the attempt by then-Mayor Mark Begich to alter the Tax Cap calculation.
In 2016 voters approved another “Repair Our Tax Cap Initiative” by a similar 62% vote, reversing the attempt by then-Mayor Ethan Berkowitz to alter the Tax Cap calculation.
Utilizing “Child Care and Early Education” as a Trojan horse to un-lock the voter approved provisions of our tax cap will haunt Anchorage property taxpayers. If Prop 14 is approved, you will certainly see future proposals to dilute our tax cap even further utilizing this same formula.
Let us respect the initial promise made by the Municipality of Anchorage, the one approved by voters and keep the marijuana tax inside the tax cap calculation.
Vote NO on Proposition 14.
Bob Maier is a property taxpayer residing in Anchorage.