Story by KTNA’s Melis Coady:
Matanuska-Susitna Borough voters will decide on October 1st whether to approve a 5 percent alcohol tax.
On July 16th, the Mat-Su Assembly voted 6 to 1 to suggest a tax on alcohol sales in bars, restaurants and liquor stores.
The ordinance is almost identical to one that is used in Fairbank’s North Star Borough.
It is estimated that the tax could bring in $1 million annually. The intention of the proposed tax was to find other sources of income to directly fund education and emergency services.
Vern Halter, Assemblyman representing District 7, explains more about how the tax helps the borough diversify it’s revenue sources:
A survey conducted this year by the Mat-Su Health Foundation identified alcohol and substance abuse as the municipality’s leading health issue.
“Alcohol dependence and abuse dramatically affect individuals, families, and the community as a whole,” said Elizabeth Ripley, Mat-Su Health Foundation Executive Director.
“Research shows that excessive use of alcohol contributes to a wide range of health and social issues, including unintentional injuries, illnesses, violence, and lost productivity. However, there is evidence that alcoholic beverage taxes lead to reduced consumption, and we believe this tax will be beneficial to the health of our community.”
Assemblyman Steve Colligan, the assembly member who proposed the tax, says voters should consider the measure as a good way to offset the burden on people who pay property tax and a way to pay for alcohol-related borough expenses such as emergency services.