Voices of the Peninsula: Vote Yes on Proposition 1 for seasonal grocery tax relief

  • By James Price
  • Wednesday, September 30, 2015 7:34pm
  • Opinion

Proposition One is our grocery tax referendum that will GET RID OF THE SEASONAL/WINTER GROCERY TAX (September through May) in the cities of Soldotna and Seldovia, and will keep it off in Homer:

■ In 2008 VOTERS APPROVED a seasonal grocery tax exemption which removed the borough’s 3% sales tax.

■ The 2008 exemption WAS AUTHORIZED TO ALSO REMOVE THE CITIES’ GROCERY TAX during the winter. HOWEVER, just 3 weeks before the 2008 election, the Borough Assembly approved Ordinance 2008-28 which authorized the general law cities TO CONTINUE TO TAX YOUR GROCERIES ANYWAY, thereby DISENFRANCHISING THE WILL OF THE VOTERS

■ Proposition One WILL UPHOLD the other half of the 2008 voter approved grocery tax exemption by REPEALING Ordinance 2008-28 and will REMOVE THE BOROUGH’S AUTHORIZATION for general law cities to continue to tax your winter groceries.

Proposition One is designed to provide direct tax relief for residents at minimum cost to local government:

■ The city of Soldotna’s total revenue has increased by over $1,680,000 from FY2013 to FY2014, according to their latest financial report. That’s about twice the amount they take from residents through Borough Ordinance 2008-28, that authorized them to ignore the 2008 voter approved initiative. SOLDOTNA ALREADY HAS ADEQUATE REVENUE!

■ Homer currently does not tax food in the winter, BUT has passed an ordinance to tax some food items beginning in January… UNLESS Proposition One passes.

■ The tax that we seek to repeal is NOT for education and NOT for general borough use.

■ Our Borough has operated without additional tax increases since 2008, when our Boroughwide grocery tax exemption was approved by the voters. Both borough and municipal sales tax revenues are currently at an all-time high.

■ This will put Borough merchants on a level playing field with the sales tax-free policy of our Anchorage neighbors by eliminating grocery tax for nine months of each year.

Proposition One will reduce the tax burden for all local, year-round residents:

■ Proposition One will help everyone, including local families and those on fixed incomes, including the elderly.

■ Food is a basic necessity of life. Proposition One reflects our values and will help us build a stronger community.

Why Now?

■ We have been forced to wait several years for this election because the Borough Clerk refused to certify our original referendum application. The Alaska Supreme Court forced the Borough to accept our referendum application after years of litigation in the state court system.

■ The Supreme Court decision granted YOU the right to decide. A YES vote will force the general law cities to follow the 2008 voter approved seasonal grocery tax exemption.

Please Vote YES on Proposition One, at the October 6th Borough Election.

— Submitted by James Price,
Alaskans for Grocery Tax Relief Now

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