BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Voters in Bethel, Alaska, are considering an alcohol sales-tax increase that would raise the rate from 12 to 15 percent.
The proposed ordinance will be on the city's Tuesday ballot, and it would also earmark 20 percent of the revenue from the alcohol sales tax to increase funding for the city's health, public safety and social services programs, KYUK-AM reported (http://bit.ly/2yMDVM5 ).
City council member Leif Albertson, who drafted the ordinance, said the tax hike would remedy the increased burden placed on public safety services after the city allowed liquor licenses. Ambulance runs and police calls have increased since the sale of alcohol has been allowed, he said. Albertson is running for re-election.
Bethel Mayor Richard Robb, who is also running for a council seat, said he is against the ordinance as it could create an incentive for illegal alcohol sales.
"I personally will vote no. I think we tax alcohol at one of the highest rates I've ever heard: 12 percent," Robb said. "The problem if we tax too much is that it makes illegal liquor more affordable, and it also makes Anchorage liquor more affordable."