AEDC backs alcohol tax, votes “yes”
Board says a healthier city will strengthen economy
The Anchorage Economic Development Corp. Board of Directors voted unanimously to support a ballot proposal introducing a retail sales tax on alcohol within the Municipality of Anchorage. The proposition of a 5 percent retail sales tax on alcohol is included in the April 2019 city ballot. AEDC’s board is encouraging the Anchorage community to vote “yes” in supporting the health of the city.
“We believe that the long-term success of Anchorage depends on improving our community,” said Bill Popp, AEDC president and CEO. “It’s no secret that alcohol-related costs are a problem in Anchorage. This is a community issue and we need to address it as a community. That’s why our board did not hesitate to support this ballot proposal.” The cost of alcohol in the state of Alaska, between lost productivity, traffic collisions, criminal justice and protective services, health care and social services, totaled more than $1.8 billion annually between 2012 and 2016. That is more than a billion-dollar impact on the economy in communities across the state. The proposed tax would raise $11-15 million annually, dedicated to services associated with mitigating the impacts of alcohol and alcohol misuse in Anchorage.
“We need to fully face the problems associated with alcohol in our community,” said Popp. “At the end of the day, passing this tax will benefit all of Anchorage by helping to offset costs associated with alcohol, which will result in a healthier workforce and a healthier economy.” While the state has a wholesale excise tax on alcohol, Anchorage receives little to none of the funds, resulting in the cost burden of improving public health and safety to largely fall on the Municipality of Anchorage or, indirectly, on taxpayers and businesses. Around the state, communities have implemented alcohol sales taxes ranging from 3 to 12 percent to assist with similar funding deficiencies. The AEDC board is encouraging Anchorage to follow suit.
AEDC is a private nonprofit corporation, operating since 1987. It exists to encourage growth and
diversity in the Anchorage economy, promote a favorable business climate and improve the
standard of living of Anchorage residents.