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Filler ‘er up: Gas will cost 10 cents more per gallon on Thursday

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’ new gasoline tax goes into effect on Thursday, costing motorists 10 cents per gallon more than they will pay before midnight on Wednesday.
For gasoline costing $2.89 per gallon, that’s a 3.5 percent increase at the pump for regular. A 20 gallon tank of gas will cost $2 more.
The gas tax was approved by the Assembly, and it offset a slight reduction in property taxes that came after Anchorage homeowners started voicing opposition to increasing property tax bills that began under the Berkowitz Administration.

The Berkowitz Administration says the gas tax will raise $11-14 million its first year.

The Anchorage municipal budget has exploded since Berkowitz took office, going up from $471 million in 2015 to now over $521 million.

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“In reality this is a $531 million budget because they are kicking $10 million in pension liabilities, which are typically accounted for in the budget, to 2019,” Assembly member Amy Demboski explained earlier this year.

To compare, the similarly sized city of Cincinnati, Ohio has an operating budget of $388 million.

The gas tax, supported by every Assembly member except Demboski, is supposed to help increase services for the homeless, as well as pay for employee pay raises and health care benefits.

An average driver will pay $43 more per year in taxes. Last April, the Assembly raised property taxes by 5.3 percent, costing the average homeowner more than $240 more per year. The latest budget rolled half of that increase back, but sent the rest of the bill to drivers.

It spreads the tax out to residents living in the Mat-Su Valley and Girdwood, who commute farther to work than people in the urban core.

Political activist Judy Eledge said she and others will be protesting Thursday and reminding people that their taxes just went up.

“We’re going to show our mayor and Assembly that many of us are struggling to live in a city with a property tax increase of 8 percent in less than four years, and we’re not going to stand for more taxes so the mayor can build more homeless shelters. If he keeps it up, we’ll all be homeless,” she said.

Eledge said that there will be signs available to wave at 442 Gambell Street in Anchorage, near the Tesoro gas station, starting at 8 am on Thursday.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. It only spreads the tax out to Valley residents if they’re dumb enough not to fuel up in the Valley. I sure won’t be getting gas in Anchorage if it’s avoidable.

  2. Annnnnnnnddddd how long before property taxes go right back up?
    My bet is on next budget cycle…….

    Tax and Spendowitz disciples are nothing if not predictable

  3. Look for tax increases in next year’s budget which, surprise, surprise, is after this April’s election.

    Too bad the Mayor has no viable opponent as he has much to account for.

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