Anchorage gas tax takes effect Thursday

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Anchorage-wide gasoline tax goes into effect Thursday, March 1, to the cheers of some and chagrin of others.

The 10-cent-per-gallon gas tax was proposed by the Budget Advisory Commission, a group of citizens charged with giving advice to the Anchorage Assembly and school board on its budgets. The commission, in the hopes of diversifying the city's tax base, settled on a gas tax.

The Anchorage Assembly passed the tax in November of 2017.

Residents across Anchorage were filling their tanks ahead of the new tax Wednesday, with some opting to also fill portable gas cans as well. The tax itself has been met with mixed reactions.

"I think it's fine," said Mark Fiori, Anchorage Residen. "It's fine. We gotta pay the way."

Gary Gove, also an Anchorage resident, said his main concern is that the tax wouldn't actually offset any costs, as proponents have maintained thus far.

"They always say they're going to do one thing, and then end up doing something else," he said.

Still, Anchorage mayor Ethan Berkowitz said that while the tax will likely cost the average Anchorage driver about $35 to $50 each year, it will decrease taxes by hundreds of dollars for those who own property.

"This plan makes sure commuters and visitors who buy gas in Anchorage and use services property tax payers pay for also bear a share of the costs," he said.

Many, though, are skeptical of any benefits of an additional tax on top of an already levied state tax.

"A lot of folks come in with five bucks, ten bucks," said Jeremy Price, Americans for Prosperity State Director, "just to top off or get a little in their tank, because they don't have a whole lot of money.

"This is a tough time in the city, a tough time in the state," he said. "If everybody gets their way, Alaskans will be paying a lot more at the pump, and right now we pay some of the highest prices even though we have some of the lowest gas taxes."

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