Anchorage mayor proposes alcohol tax to fund health, safety

November 14, 2018

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage’s mayor has proposed asking voters to approve a 5-percent sales tax on alcohol that could support services to address homelessness and substance abuse.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s administration is planning to introduce the tax proposal to the Anchorage Assembly next week, the Anchorage Daily News reported . Eight assembly votes would be required to send it to the April 2019 ballot.

The city tax would generate revenue to fund a range of public health and safety programs, including housing, a substance abuse treatment center, and an expanded Anchorage Safety Patrol, according to a memo sent to the assembly.

“The reality is, alcohol is an incredibly profitable business in this town,” Berkowitz said. “It’s a cost-causer that is not paying the cost.”

The tax would generate between $11 million and $15 million, replacing diminishing state revenue, Berkowitz said.

“There is a massive gap in the behavioral health system in this state, and this is a dramatic example of where the state has retreated,” Berkowitz said.

For a six-pack of beer, the tax would add on about 40 cents, according to the measure. A $10 mix drink would have an additional 50 cents, and a $50 bottle of liquor would cost an extra $2.50. The Assembly could create exemptions.

Taxes on alcohol have been proposed seven times previously in Anchorage since 1984. Each effort failed.


Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com

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