Ed. Note: The move was on in 1997 to try and impose a sales tax on
Fairbanks once again.
Read one viewpoint on the strategy behind this movement:
Remember Bar Hours? Get Ready for Sales Tax
The ADVANCE ALASKA Network © 1997 KEVIN
McGEHEE December 5, 1997
Here they come again, their sights zeroed in on your
wallets. In response to the fiscal mess created by the feckless city administration in
Fairbanks, the local pack of money jackals are beating the drums for a city sales tax:
"nothing huge, you understand -- just 2 or 3 percent."
At first grimace, a Fairbanks city sales tax seems no big deal, especially since there
are so many shopping opportunities around (but not quite in) the Fairbanks city limits.
But there lies the rub -- and I refuse to believe the proponents of a modest city sales
tax are so naïve as to be unaware of it, and of how a similar strategy was used just last
year to extend city laws controlling bar hours to cover the entire borough.
In a conversation last summer with someone who favors a sales tax in the borough, I
suggested that the North Pole city sales tax might be instructive as to how much real
revenue would be raised -- and the reply was that North Pole would not be instructive at
all, since so many people can so easily avoid shopping there by going to Fairbanks. Well,
with that big Fred Meyer store at College and University serving as a beacon, what's to
stop Fairbanks' residents from likewise avoiding a Fairbanks city sales tax?
The borough, thats what.
Let the city adopt a sales tax, let it sit for a while, let people adapt their shopping
habits, then will come the outcry: "Outlying stores are siphoning off the city's
rightful revenues!!!" Not to mention complaints from city business owners (the vast
majority of whom are small business owners without the resources to simply move
beyond the reach of the tax), who will be watching as their patronage declines.
The editorial board at the News-Miner will, of course, suggest modestly that
none of this would be a problem if Fairbanks were just like Anchorage, with a unified
municipal government. <yawn>
When that fails to gain support (thank heaven for small favors), Mayor Hove and his
friends will ride in and save the day, seeking to remove the incentive to avoid the city's
sales tax by proposing a non-areawide borough sales tax. How reasonable! How
The views expressed herein are entirely those of the
author(s), and do not reflect those of any person or group with whom the author(s) may be
affiliated, unless explicitly labeled as doing so.
The ADVANCE ALASKA Network © 1997 KEVIN McGEHEE North Pole, Alaskamcgehee@mosquitonet.com
Permission granted to anyone wishing to forward,
redistribute, or broadcast this article for NON-PROFIT purposes. Profit-making
publications must have express consent to reprint any AdvAK materials. Thank you.
Back to Home|Meeting Index|Back to Guest Page|Lighten Up|Contact ITA