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1/13/2020
Anchorage Assembly eyes new tax plans

ANCHORAGE (AP) — City leaders in Anchorage have discussed new taxes to offset declines in revenue from the state despite voters failing to pass former tax proposals as recently as April.

The Anchorage Assembly has held multiple town hall meetings this week to explain the city's financial situation, explore revenue options and hear comments from the public, Anchorage Daily News  reported Friday.

Assembly members have pitched a sales tax and two versions of an alcohol tax, officials said.

The Assembly could place multiple proposals on the ballot, but only want one to go before voters, city officials said. At least eight out of the 11 members must vote in favor of a proposal for it to be placed on the April 7 election ballot, officials said.

The original 5% alcohol tax is closest to getting eight votes and is aimed at funding police and first responders; combating child and sexual abuse; funding mental and behavioral health programs; and helping address homelessness, officials said.

The other alcohol tax would start at 2% and increase to 5%, but would not fund more police, officials said.

The sales tax would fund more police, prosecutors, forensic lab technicians and parole and probation officers all under state regulation, officials said. It is unclear how much money that would require and how to fund state services without overseeing them, city officials said.

Multiple members of the public commented on the proposals and some have advocated for no new taxes or abolishing existing taxes, officials said.