Anchorage, USA: Voters Reject Big Alcohol, Back Alcohol Tax
Anchorage, USA held their Municipal election on April 7, 2020. As votes are tallied results show the people reject Big Alcohol and back the new alcohol tax measure.
As Movendi International previously reported, a 5% tax increase was proposed and accepted to be voted on by the citizens of Anchorage in this year’s municipal elections. The tax increase is estimated to raise between $11 million to $15 million in revenue. Based on a $11.8 million estimate, the revenue is to be spent as follows:
- The largest amount, $4.5 million would go to substance use prevention, treatment programs and assistance for the homeless – $2 million for treatment centres and just over $2.5 million for shelters;
- $4.1 million would go to public safety – $1.7 million to fund 6 new police officer positions and 9 non-sworn support positions for the police department. $700,000 for additional prosecutors and public defenders and $1.7 million is for firefighter/paramedics and mental health clinicians;
- $3.1 million would be spent on preventing child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence – to be given in the form of grants, with half going to early education grants and half going to abuse prevention providers.
The tax makes economic sense as alcohol problems and related expenses amount to nearly $2.4 billion per year in Alaska, which is more than $3,200 per resident, according to a McDowell Group report. This is a tab all citizens are picking up right now, through taxes or lost economic productivity.
A similar measure was voted down in last year’s municipal elections where Big Alcohol ran a well-funded campaign to influence the voter base. This year around Big Alcohol also ran a campaign against the proposed tax. Fortunately, it seems the people of Anchorage have caught on this year. Slightly over 51% have said yes to the tax increase in this year’s polls.
This shows, clearly, that Anchorage voters want to invest in tackling the issues of domestic violence, child abuse, treatment, and homelessness. I’m thankful to the voters for giving us this tool that will allow us to make real progress on these issues,” said Felix Rivera, Anchorage Assembly member and co-sponsor of the bill, as per 11 KTVA.
Increasing taxes is one of the Best Buy alcohol policy measures recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) with proven cost-effectiveness and high impact in reducing alcohol consumption and resulting harm.