Municipal League backs away from sales tax

Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Alaska Municipal League is backing off of its call to have the state consider an income tax to help solve the state's fiscal problems.

The league's new position calls for additional revenue streams, but doesn't specify a revenue source. It does frown on the option of a statewide sales tax, said AML Executive Director Kevin Ritchie after Friday's vote.

The 142-member league last year called for the state to consider a state income tax. Ritchie said the league changed its position because it wants Gov.-elect Frank Murkowski to make the first move.

''It's the beginning of a new administration,'' he said. ''Let's let them set the tone for a discussion.''

The AML had pondered recommending that the state establish an income tax. Members floated the idea in a draft policy statement.

The league's position that sales taxes should stay local is essentially unchanged, Ritchie said.

''The short story is that ... the municipalities feel strongly that a sales tax must remain a municipal option,'' he said.

Action by the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly a few weeks ago contributed to the change. The assembly passed a resolution calling for the income tax language to be taken out of the AML's draft position.

Ritchie said the Fairbanks North Star Borough was the only municipality to take action associated with the AML's stance.

Assembly member Garry Hutchison said he thinks the league was influenced by Murkowski's overwhelming victory.

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