10-cent per gallon gas tax in Anchorage proposed

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) A 10-cent per gallon gasoline tax in Anchorage was proposed to members of the assembly Thursday afternoon during a meeting at City Hall.

The proposal was submitted by the chairman of the Budget Advisory Commission, a group of citizens that provides advice to the assembly and the school board.

Al Tamagni, chairman of the commission, said the proposal calls for property taxes to be offset by the amount of revenue raised by the gasoline tax. Tamagni also said the proposed tax would generate about $14-million a year and the commission is recommending that 100 percnt of that be used for property tax relief.

The tax would also apply to diesel fuel sales.

The proposal was made Thursday to the Budget & Finance Committee of the Anchorage Assembly.

Assembly member John Weddleton expressed interest in considering the gasoline tax, saying "a lot of people are interested in getting some tax revenue from people from the valley and other parts of the state that use city services but don't contribute, and this is one way to do that, so I think it's good to start kicking it around and see what people think about it."

Assembly member Amy Demboski expressed skepticism because of what she described as a potential "bait-and-switch". "They tell you it's going to offset your property taxes, what happens if they change their minds?" Demboski said. "What happens if it doesn't offset property taxes? Now you're paying high property taxes and an additional 10-cents a gallon on a gasoline tax. At a time of economic recession, when people are hurting, it's going to hit families that much harder."

The chairman of the Budget Advisory Commission said the proposal could by approved by the Assembly without a vote of the people, and the commission is recommending that 100% of the money generated by the new tax be placed under the municipal tax cap.

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