Alaska Municipal League drops call for income tax

Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Alaska Municipal League has dropped its call for the state to consider an income tax as a way to solve its fiscal problems. Instead, the group is calling for development of additional sources of revenue.

''It's the beginning of a new administration,'' Kevin Ritchie, the league's executive director, told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. ''Let's let them set the tone for a discussion.''

The Alaska Municipal League adopted its position on a state fiscal plan at a meeting in Valdez Friday. The group did not specify a revenue source, but frowns on the option of a statewide sales tax, Ritchie said.

Last year, the 142-member municipal league had 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. The league's position that sales taxes should stay local is essentially unchanged.

''The short story is that the municipalities feel strongly that a sales tax must remain a municipal option,'' Ritchie said. The AML had pondered recommending that the state establish an income tax. Members floated a pro-income tax draft policy statement.

Action by the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly a few weeks ago helped spur the change in direction. 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.

''The North Star Borough was extremely important in helping shape that,'' he said.

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