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Altered sales tax proposal to go before borough assembly on Tuesday

by Phillip Manning ~ July 27th, 2017

At its meeting next Tuesday, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly will hold a public hearing on the proposal to put a borough-wide sales tax to a popular vote, but perhaps not in the form in which it was initially introduced.

Originally, the ordinance to place a sales tax on the ballot called for a three percent tax to fund public schools in the borough. Now, at the request of the school district, a substitute ordinance changes that to a two percent tax.

The substitute ordinance also changes the maximum taxable transaction size from $1,000 to $500. Additionally, it adds a sunset clause for the tax to expire in five years unless approved once again by Mat-Su voters at that time.

The deadline for ballot questions to be added for the October 3rd election is August 3rd. In a letter to community councils in his district, Assembly Member Randall Kowalke says he does not expect the final vote on whether or not to put the sales tax on the ballot to occur at Tuesday’s meeting. Instead, he believes that the proposal is still a work in progress.

The substitute ordinance calls for a special vote to be held on the sales tax proposal in January as opposed to the regular annual borough election on October 3rd.

Earlier this week, the Mat-Su Borough School District held an informational meeting to answer questions regarding the tax proposal and the current state of school funding in the borough. On Wednesday, the Greater Wasilla Chamber of Commerce held a discussion with Mat-Su Schools Superintendent Monica Goyette, Wasilla Mayor Bert Cottle, and Mat-Su Borough Manager John Moosey. Goyette spoke in favor of the sales tax proposal, and Cottle spoke against it. Moosey, as a borough official, says he is not allowed to take sides, but was present in order to provide clarity on the facts.

Supporters and opponents of the sales tax are expected to turn out on Tuesday to speak before the assembly.

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