Action Line: CBJ Chamber of Commerce officials discuss Juneau sales tax proposals, Juneau Economic Development Plan

    JUNEAU, Alaska (KINY) - The Juneau Chamber of Commerce is supporting only one of the two proposals on the temporary 3% sales tax that will appear on the local election ballot October 4th.

    One calls for extending the levy for another five years. The other calls for making it permanent after that time.

    Chamber Vice President Eric Eriksen, who chairs the organization's Government Relations Committee, addressed that matter on Action Line this week.

    "In the Government Affairs Committee, we've been listening to our business community and receiving feedback. Our position is that, under the financial crisis of the state, it's not a time to make drastic tax changes without knowing what taxations the state may impose upon us. We recognize that the 3% temporary sales tax is very important to our community, and we are very supportive of continuing that. The idea of a permanent sales tax we're not supporting at this time, but we are supporting the temporary 3% sales tax."

    The Juneau Chamber of Commerce is playing its part in helping the local government implement the Juneau Economic Development Plan approved by the Assembly.

    According to Chamber President Dan Fabrello, "We've contracted with the McDowell Group to come up with a business survey to gain better understanding of the role of freight and transportation costs in constraining businesses and economic development. Of course, Juneau is isolated from its suppliers, and we ship goods in and out of the community; shipping costs are a critical aspect of the community's potential for business and economic development. As pat of the Juneau Economic Development Plan, we were charged to look into the issues with freight and shipping. As part of that, we're still listening and having an open conversation with the governor's office on Juneau Access, which we believe is part of lowering the cost of shipping goods in and out of Juneau. The Southeast Conference and the governor's office have moved forward with studies, and we anticipate that the preferred alternative for Juneau Access will be approved by the governor."

    Word on the revised Environmental Impact Statement on Juneau Access is pending.

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