- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Juneau officials have rejected a proposal that would have allowed voters to decide whether to remove a 5 percent sales tax on groceries.

The Juneau Assembly voted Monday against an ordinance that would put the matter on the ballot this fall. If the ordinance had passed, voters would have decided whether to make groceries exempt while at the same time raising the city’s general sales tax from 5 percent to 6 percent, the Juneau Empire reported (https://bit.ly/292WZuH ).

Increasing the general sales tax would make up for a loss of revenue from exempting groceries.

Three of the assembly’s nine members supported the measure and said taxing people for groceries negatively affects low-income residents.

“It’s fundamentally wrong,” assembly member Kate Troll said. “It’s regressive, and it’s hurting the people who can least afford it.”

Those who shot down the proposal said the general sales tax increase would be unfair to senior citizens because of restrictions placed on seniors’ sales tax exemption last year. Opponents also argued that adding another question about sales tax to the ballot might annoy voters.

“If you get confusing language on the ballot and somebody is angry that we’re going to 6 percent, they’re going to vote against everything,” Mayor Ken Koelsch said.

Assembly member Jess Kiehl, who voted in favor of the ordinance, said that argument was not a fair assessment of Juneau’s voter base.

“It seems to me that we haven’t gone far wrong yet asking Juneau voters to make a decision,” Kiehl said. “We’ve got a really smart electorate, and I just don’t believe they’ll have a hard time with three questions. . They’re not a hard three questions.”

In October, voters will choose whether to extend the temporary 3 percent sales tax, which goes toward the city government. It could be extended for another five years or could be made permanent. Voters also will decide whether to raise the marijuana sales tax from 5 percent to 8 percent.


Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, https://www.juneauempire.com

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide