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Taxes on tourism already in place

Posted: May 19, 2014 - 5:30pm  |  Updated: May 20, 2014 - 8:30am

Who opened up this can of worms again? We already have a bed tax here in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. It is called the “Moock Tax” and was adopted years ago by the borough assembly. Sharon Moock, an assembly member at the time, successfully pushed for this tax and here is how it works. Ordinarily, sales tax is capped in the borough at 3 percent for the borough, plus whatever the city charges if the purchase is made in a city or town that collects sales taxes. So, when you purchase something over $500.00 (the maximum amount capped), your borough sales tax will not exceed $15.00. Buy a $30,000 vehicle in Soldotna and you will pay $15 to the borough and $15 to the city of Soldotna; 3 percent for each entity.

Enter tourism and the Moock Tax. It was decided to tax at the full rate, no cap, on any tourism sales. So, when a group of tourists purchase a package at $30,000, their tax ramifications are 6 percent of the full amount if they stay at a Soldotna lodging, or $1800.00. Not only are the beds in this purchase taxed at the full rate, per bed per night, but the boat seats these people fill are also taxed per seat per day. There is no cap. Remember that these tourists rent cars, fill restaurants and grocery stores, taverns, gift shops and more. Their sales tax dollars help fuel our economy.

So, when someone brings up a bed tax I can only believe they are ignorant of the current tax structure or they are a mean-spirited bully who despises tourists. Either way, this stinky can of worms ought to be buried once and for all. We already have a bed tax.

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