Watching what passes for news coverage of the city’s three town halls on possible new taxes, one might think saying “no” is not an option.
The municipal presentations seemed to center on the question: Which of these taxes would you support? The meetings seemed as much grooming sessions as informational sessions.
The taxes the Assembly is mulling include two versions of a 5 percent retail alcohol tax already rejected by voters last April and a six-year, 3 percent sales tax offered by Chugiak-Eagle River Assemblyman Fred Dyson to offset property taxes and fund public safety.
Still pushing for a ballot spot is another “temporary” 3 percent general sales tax that would go into effect in 2021 to raise $375 million over five years to pay for nine specific capital projects – many of them downtown and geared for tourism. That tax, supported by mystery backers and undisclosed funding sources, is in the wings, trying to win a spot on the ballot.
The city’s effort to nail down additional revenue in the form of a sales tax, if history is any teacher, faces tough sledding. Sales taxes get little traction with the electorate here. If one of the two alcohol taxes makes the April ballot, it will mark the ninth attempt to get one passed.
It would seem to us that the city’s offering of three taxes – and leaving out “not only no, but hell no” as an option – is a fool’s errand that will end badly for the eight Assembly members who might place one of the proposals on the ballot.