Government extortion

If you can say one thing about the Anchorage Assembly you can say this: It will never give up trying to get into your pocket as long as you have one penny left.

Take, for instance, its putting onto the ballot in the upcoming April 2 election a proposed 5 percent retail alcohol sales tax and promising Anchorage bars they would be allowed to open earlier – something bar owners have wanted for years – if they did not oppose the levy.

There have been seven failed attempts to tax alcohol in Anchorage over the past few decades. This time around, Assemblyman Dick Traini decided to muscle the liquor industry.

He proposed linking the tax and the extended hours; said it was just a tradeoff.

“It’s quite simple: Don’t fight against this, and you can have bar hours increased,” the Anchorage Daily News reports Traini as saying. “Defeat the alcohol tax, and this disappears like this never happened.”

A tradeoff? It sounds more like crass government extortion. Welcome to the Third World.

In return for its silence, the liquor industry could serve alcohol at 9 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends and state holidays. The law now calls for 10 a.m. bar openings. State law already allows serving from 8 a.m. to 5 a.m. the next morning.

Let’s face reality: Common sense says longer bar hours mean more drinking. Add to that the fact that liquor taxes have little-to-no effect on drinking.

Alaska is a good example. It already has among the nation’s highest liquor taxes and has had since lawmakers in 2002 decided that jacking up liquor taxes would dissuade Alaskans from drinking and help pay for alcohol’s added costs to the state. Surprise! The tax had the opposite effect. Drinking actually increased – but the state struck revenue gold.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz wants the 5 percent retail sales tax on alcohol to fund homeless services and substance abuse treatment. The promise is that the revenue would be dedicated to just those areas.

Despite Berkowitz’s vow to sock the money into a fund for homelessness and treatment means squat. The next mayor or the one after that would spend the money as he or she would see fit.

The tax proposal is a lousy idea, just another way to get into our pockets, to hold one industry responsible for problems ranging from mental illness to alcoholism.

Voters should reject it, if for no other reason, the coercion and extortion involved.

4 Responses to Government extortion

  1. Marlin Savage March 8, 2019 at 10:30 am

    Unable to e-mail Daily Planet, so I send it this way:

    Home/Business News/

    World’s largest sovereign wealth fund in Norway to dump oil stocks

    Published time: 8 Mar, 2019 12:07

    Norway’s trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund, is set to phase out oil and gas companies from its benchmark index and sell their shares, the government has announced, citing potential financial risks.

    “The objective is to reduce the vulnerability of our common wealth to a permanent oil price decline,” the Finance Ministry said, announcing the decision on Friday.

    It noted that the move is aimed at diversification and that the oil industry will remain a “major industry in Norway for many years to come.” However, the statement noted that permanent reduction in the crude prices “will have long-term implications for public finances.”

    BP boss Dudley says US shale is ‘a market without a brain’ BP boss Dudley says US shale is ‘a market without a brain’
    Norway is one of western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producers. The sovereign wealth fund, known officially as the Government Pension Fund, owns around $40 billion of shares in oil companies such as BP, ExxonMobil and Chevron.

    The integrated companies like Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil are not to be caught in the sellout, according to Reuters, while one of Europe’s leading independent oil and gas companies Cairn Energy, UK-based Tullow Oil and Premier Oil, in which the fund held stakes totaling $100 million, are to be excluded.

    The ministry’s decision which was earlier backed by the country’s central bank, is still not the final word. It is now to be debated in the Norwegian parliament before going ahead.

    The move might send shockwaves through the energy sector, and stocks in energy companies, already stricken by lowering crude prices, extended their losses following the announcement. Meanwhile, Stoxx Europe 600 Oil & Gas index plunged around 1.3 percent.

  2. Bill Hutchison March 8, 2019 at 10:37 am

    I love it here in Palmer! But don’t all of you try to come here at once. You won’t fit.

  3. John London March 8, 2019 at 11:02 am

    Homeless Services??? Go to the Library and a few other outlets for books in Mid-town Anchorage.

    They have been taken over by street addicts aka Homeless and regular citizens are afraid to go there any more.

    The left Socialist invented the homeless street addict problem and need to own it and STOP enabling it with bogus calls to fund it.

    Pushing drug culture for half a century tends to do that.

  4. R-Dubya March 9, 2019 at 11:07 am

    More taxes for what measurable and meaningful benefit to the taxpayers? When does this money grab (higher taxes) ever end? When do we start see some type of progress where the homeless population start to stand on their own and a drop in addicts? What exactly do we (taxpayers) get for the tax dollars expended on the homeless and addicts? When do we demand ‘personal responsibility’ for personal actions? Is there some type of long term plan to deal with this problem locally?

    As a taxpayer, I believe these are reasonable – responsible questions that require a timely and honest answer before any of accept any additional taxes. Otherwise, it’s just another local boondoggle and money grab that will continue to pressure current residents to seek other alternative locations to live (outside of the MOA or Alaska).


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