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Friday, March 5, 2021
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Rest in peace, Anchorage tax cap

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By BOB MAIER

Standing true to their mantra of “housing first” for the homeless, Anchorage municipal government is also providing permanent housing for Anchorage Assembly Members.

Construction has begun on a remodel of City Hall downtown, located at 6th and G.  The purpose is to provide Anchorage Assembly members individual offices.

The original $350,000 price tag for the project was first approved February 11, 2020 by the Assembly via Assembly Resolution 2020-10 and Assembly Memorandum 24-2020.  

At their January 12, 2021 meeting the Assembly increased the original $350,000 price tag by $122,500 for a new total of $472,500, via Assembly Resolution 2021-12 and Assembly Memorandum 32-2021.

Read the resolution from Jan. 12 increasing the price tag for City Hall office remodels:

When he was questioned during debate about the increase in funding for the project at the Jan. 12, 2021 meeting, Assembly Chairman Felix Rivera stated that the purpose was for “furnishings.”

So where is all of this money coming from?  Is it ‘Covid-19 Cares Act’ money?  Will the remodel be paid for with the 5% alcohol tax from the restaurant / hospitality industry which began the first day of February?  Will the source be proceeds from the sale of Municipal Light and Power to Chugach Electric?

Perhaps it is just coming from good old Anchorage property taxpayer dollars.

Does it really matter anymore?  It will certainly take beyond a “forensic audit” to determine the source.  But ultimately, the true victim in all of this is the Anchorage tax cap and what it has historically stood for.

Rest in peace, dear Anchorage tax cap.

With the construction project at City Hall proceeding, perhaps even a closer look is necessary at the business being conducted by Anchorage municipal government.

The Anchorage Salaries and Emoluments Commission, over a series of meetings, have voted the Anchorage Mayor, Assembly members and School Board members pay raises.  

These raises are scheduled to be phased in as members are newly elected or re-elected.  The question we should ask of all those running for elected office on this April’s Municipal Election Ballot, along with those already seated is … with the economy suffering will you or have you accepted the increase in salary?

Read the resolution increasing the salaries for elected officials:

Anchorage Assembly members will receive a base salary increase between April 2019 and April 2021 from $31,096 to $60,008, a pay raise of $28,912 or 93% over a two period, excluding medical allowances.

Financially, it has been a very good year for Anchorage municipal government as a whole.  I just wish that I could make that same claim for the rest of us in private industry.

Bob Maier is a Resident of Anchorage who has been paying property taxes to the Municipality every year since 1978.

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Latest comments

  • Felix is a liar.

    • Felix the Rat, the wonderful wonderful rat.

    • Boy are us taxpayers getting ripped off.

  • A better idea might be to house the Assembly Members with the Homeless???

  • As the Assembly elections come up in ’22 & ’23, please reprint this Suzanne.

  • My heart goes out to you folks in Anchorage. While you think of Juneau as a liberal stronghold we actually have a very diverse citizenship with two mines, fishing and construction making up a large part of our economy. I believe this helps steer our Assembly, who while is largely very progressive has a much more balanced viewpoint and always conducts themselves in a respectful and mannerly way unlike that bunch of wackjobs you have up there. Our assembly members get paid about $500 a month for probably 40-80 hours of work each month. You folks need to support your one conservative and vote the rest out before it’s too late. Maybe if you cut their pay they would leave of their own accord. It’s worth a try.
    Good luck.

    • They let it happen. I hope they can take it back, but checking out and letting other people make their decisions for them, and having other people pay attention for them, got them to this spot. They trusted feckless party leaders who rolled over and let these foxes into the hen house. They didn’t push back against things like mail in voting and so the left insured it would always have the votes they need to maintain power. Now they are going to hand it back to the left, because they’ll have 2-4 people fighting over one spot and the left won’t even need to cheat.

    • I take your point but wonder if there are some holes in it. The commercial salmon industry was key in shutting down the forest products industry, and it opposes cruise ship tourism and mining. And as for the CBJ Assembly, don’t overlook that they recently gave a CARES Act grant to teach drag queen lessons, they have middle-aged fellows wearing dresses (drag queens?) teaching reading to toddlers at city libraries, they spent $17,000 on a brass whale and then $900,000 defending itself against a lawsuit from the cruise ship association to lose on summary judgement, and are spending $300,000 per apartment to give free apartments to the homeless. So I think we must settle for agreeing that both Assemblies belong in San Francisco. To say that the CBJ Assembly is balanced is to say that we’re pleased the farm hand doesn’t try to molest the boys in the barn so we will overlook that he visits the heifers every evening after the milking is done. Taking the castration knife to that farm hand could be far better.

  • Elections have consequences

  • The citizens of Anchorage are going to allow a 90% pay increase?!?!
    If so, what else are they willing to accept and/or allow?!?!

  • That’s why I moved to a new community
    No masks real people just living are life’s and helping are neighbors.

    • Welcome to the valley!
      Or
      Welcome to the Peninsula!

  • I am amazed they can give themselves a raise without somebody else’s approval. They only work about 6 hours every other week

  • Pigs feeding at the trough

  • Thank you for all you do. I’m a lifelong Alaskan born on the Second Largest Island in the USA when Alaska was still a territory. Thank Goodness my Mother was educated and well traveled.

    I am under the Interpretation there can be no new rules nor laws written while in pandemic.

    A Statute defining executive authority during an emergency cannot be modified by executive order. Governors cannot promulgate emergency rules that grant themselves authority beyond the statutory limits, even if they otherwise have the power to temporarily alter statutes.

    As a result, legislatures have the authority to legislate firm limits on emergency executive power.

    Several states impose specific limits on the exercise of emergency powers.Common restrictions include prohibiting governors from limiting freedom of the press or confiscating citizens’ firearms. Additionally, constitutional limits on state authority and any guaranteed rights remain in full effect during an emergency.

    Legislatures may retain the power to nullify an emergency proclamation by a resolution. In most cases, it takes a simple majority vote of both chambers. State laws may grant legislatures even greater oversight power by requiring legislative approval for an emergency to continue beyond a specified length of time. If a state’s legislature is out of session during an emergency, some state laws require the governor to call a special session.
    As Thousands are leaving, the budget goes up. How about we repair the infrastructure we already have, no new spending. What on God’s Green Earth is Dunleavy thinking? Talk about the Vanishing Governor. We need one like Texas. Stand up to this Tyranny.
    Thank you

    • The calculation may be to spend money on infrastructure before the politicians give it all away to special interests? He may see the writing on the wall; that we will never have another remotely fair election again. So might as well get something with the money before the left and corrupt GOP just pay off their friends, and backchannel the grift back to their own accounts. Who knows? But that’s one thought I can see making sense.

    • Alaska has a statute that prohibits any subdivision, such as a muni, from enacting stiffer gun restrictions than the state has. That is why, for example, signs prohibiting guns in municipal hospitals and in AHFC facilities are not enforceable. But sadly, most states do not have those Second Amendment reinforcers; MA, NY, CT, MD, DL, CA(and soon WA) have confiscated firearms from law-abiding gun owners.

  • In another article I just read that the average property tax in New Jersey is $9,000 annually. Anchorage residents can afford a lot more. Go for it, Forrest! Make Anchorage New Jersey!

  • This particular left-wing Assembly mob should deservedly have their offices re-located to a community restroom at City Hall. Each stall could be refurbished as an individual office. The refurbishment would be limited to a personalized name-tag on each individuals own stall door.

  • Those crooks think they needed new digs so they went for it. Again this is nothing new. Look at New York and Chicago and LA and any other Democrat socialist controlled town and you’ll find the same thing.

  • I remember when I was a kid and my dad was on the assembly, he worked from his home office. There wasn’t an actual office in the city hall for assembly members. Isn’t this a part time job? And Rivera, your “furnishings” fund….come on now. Bring your own stuff from home. That’s how I’ve seen offices decorated in the past. Quit hiking tax payers dollars for your stupid stuff. And a raise???? Are you serious??? For what?? Not for making Anchorage great again, that’s for sure. Only one deserving the raise is Ms. Allard.

  • I’m amazed you all didn’t see this coming when you elected this bunch of socialists. Just saying!

  • You voted these people in, Anchorage

  • So who is the ‘friend” that got the contract……..

  • This gravy train done left the station, suckers.

  • Eaglexit ought to fix this problem.
    .
    So… what will persuade Eaglexiters to take other Anchorage neighborhoods with them?

  • Alaska has a statute that prohibits any subdivision, such as a muni, from enacting stiffer gun restrictions than the state has. That is why, for example, signs prohibiting guns in municipal hospitals and in AHFC facilities are not enforceable. But sadly, most states do not have those Second Amendment reinforcers; MA, NY, CT, MD, DL, CA(and soon WA) have confiscated firearms from law-abiding gun owners.

  • Tax caps don’t work, at least in a democratic republic. The City and Borough of Juneau has a tax cap, but the arithmetic excludes debt service. I am sure you can guess the result. Even in this recession, with the very real prospect of a second no-show cruise ship season, the Juneau Assembly is selling general obligation bonds in order to spend beyond the tax cap. Last I looked the tax cap before the Alaska Legislature right now exempts debt! I hope that has changed or will change in committee.

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