While Anchorage passed marijuana tax for child care, Kenai Assembly nixes a tobacco tax for same use


Last year, Anchorage voters approved a ballot measure that will dedicate all of the city’s tax revenue from marijuana sales for underwriting of child care. The city is estimated to get about $5 million each year from its tax on cannabis that is started collecting this year. The granting of that money will go into effect in 2025.

But in Kenai, the borough assembly majority has turned down a pair of ordinances to fund child care in the borough with a proposed excise taxes on tobacco products.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Peter Micciche advised caution to the Assembly, which the majority gook to heart.

“This is a dangerous crossroads in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. We chose to be a second-class borough. We must be on guard, move against these insatiable services,” Micciche said. Watch his remarks here:

The ordinance to enact the tobacco tax in the Kenai Borough was sponsored by Assembly President Brent Johnson, who filed in April as a nonpartisan candidate to challenge Rep. Sarah Vance. Other sponsors were Assembly members Cindy Ecklund and Mike Tipper.

The proposal lost 5-3, and the ordinance to establish a child care grant program like Anchorage is developing for its tax revenue was then withdrawn by Ecklund because without the first ordinance creating funding, the second ordinance was dead.

Cigarettes are taxed by the federal government at $1.01 per pack and by the State of Alaska at $2 per pack. Anchorage taxes cigarettes at $2.39 per pack. An average pack of cigarettes in Alaska costs about $10.46, according to WorldPopulationReview.com.

About 14-16% of Alaskans are cigarette smokers, but the percentage of Alaska Natives who smoke may be as high as 19%, according to the American Lung Association.

Although Alaska has the sixth-highest prices for cigarettes among the 50 states, it’s 13th on the list when it comes to the percentage of adults who smoke. West Virginia has the most smokers, at 20% of the population.


  1. Time to go to Court. Ear tagging is illegal. The tax has to go to the general fund and then can be appropriated during the annual budget battle.

    Even Bethel’s liberal councils have figured that out.

  2. Anchorage voters were -told- they approved the ballot measure by the same officials who apparently never found time to answer former Mayor Bronson’s questions about the election in which some guy stuck a thumb drive in the vote-counting gear while votes were counted.
    So, it seems reasonable to ask how anyone outside the city’s election system can know for a fact what they actually approved, or how many of them approved it?

  3. Question
    Why would Brent Johnson, who just announced he is running against Rep Sarah Vance for House propose a tax increase on KPB residents?

  4. This is just the kind of BS that the assembly has pulled continually in Anchorage. They get taxes on the ballot, that are illegal under the charter, and get them passed. Then they start using the tax money for uses it was NEVER intended for as if it is their own private slush fund. The gas tax, the alcohol tax, the marijuana tax, the tobacco tax are ALL sales taxes and were passed in VIOLATION of the 3/5 requirement of the REGISTERED voters in the Muni Charter.

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