Food tax is on the table again

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Tuesday, February 3, 2015 11:55pm
  • News

The seasonal exemption from sales taxes on non-prepared food items is on the table again.

Blaine Gilman introduced the ordinance that would allow for the borough to collect taxes from Sept.1 until May 31 on non-prepared groceries, during Tuesday’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting.

The borough has missed the opportunity to collect nearly $3 million in tax revenue annually without the exemptions, according to the ordinance. If approved, the generated revenue would go to funding schools.

Nikiski resident James Price, who has been fighting the exemption since 2008, said he appreciated being allowed to comment at the initial introduction of the ordinance. He said he did not understand why the borough was trying to tax people’s groceries.

“Every other tax that we collect in the borough goes also to education,” Price said. “This isn’t an exclusive way to generate funding for schools.”

The ordinance will open for public comment on March 17.

Following Price’s comments, the assembly approved Robert Ernst’s appointment to the Borough Northwest Board Seat, by one vote. Board member Wayne Ogle requested that the assembly dismiss Borough Mayor Mike Navarre’s appointment.

“As far as Mr. Ernst is concerned he is a very honorable person, well educated but the perception is…Ernst is involved with the Cook Inletkeeper,” Ogle said. “It is a good organization, but it does not represent business ventures in the Nikiski area, and as a result there is a lot of concern about the trust of the planning commission with that particular point of view.”

Assembly member Mako Haggerty said it was fortunate someone was volunteering to take the position while member Kelly Cooper said Ersnt’s experience would diversify the commission, which is why she supported him.

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