Anchorage‘s liberal mayor, backed by the urging of Assemblyman Dick Traini, wants more taxes put on the head of the hospitality industry. This would be on top of the already stiff state tax initiated by then-state-Sen. Lisa Murkowski back in 2001. Somehow, she convinced the public that the new tax could be used to resolve alcohol-related problems, but neglected to add that funds raised by this tax could not legally be targeted, and so, it didn‘t happen, but the tax sure did.
The legislators were well aware of this, but, mouths watered at the thought of millions of new dollars being added to the general fund annually. Have we seen any new alcohol treatment centers open during the past 17 years, or any other progress made in the area of addiction?
Mayor Ethan Berkowitz claims he can spend this money to help the homeless problem and assumes that by raising liquor prices, it means less consumption by street people. Hey, why not tax cocaine, that will stop those addictions, right? Does he really think the voters are that stupid?
The hospitality industry is the second-largest employer in the state. Why punish it? In fact, the assembly and the mayor should be thinking of ways to support small business and not put them out of business. If anyone feels targeting an industry in order to tax it more is the best and fairest way to put more money in the pockets of the Anchorage assembly or mayors office, then think about the possibility of your business being next.
Former bar owner and CHARR president
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