ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage Assembly has voted to send a 5% tax on alcohol to the city’s April election ballot.
The assembly voted 9-2 in favor of the tax Tuesday, surpassing the necessary eight votes.
The estimated $11 million to $15 million collected per year would be used to pay for additional first responders, homeless shelter beds and programs to reduce substance abuse, child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence.
The proposal includes an amendment to Anchorage’s charter so it can be passed by a simple majority of voters.
The new tax would go into effect in 2021 if voters pass the measure.
“We know it’s a positive public health measure, we know the revenue will be well spent and we feel better about its passage than we ever have before,” said Tiffany Hall, executive director for Recover Alaska, which helped lobby the assembly to put the tax on the ballot.
The proposition is similar to a measure residents rejected last year, but advocates said they are now more prepared to rally public support.
“We asked a lot of voters why it did or didn’t pass last year, and we made a lot of significant changes to this year’s version,” Hall said. “Also, we’re going to actually run a campaign.”
Representatives of the alcohol and hospitality industries have said they will fight the measure.