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New Ballot Measure May Double Sales Tax On Alcohol And Tobacco

Sammy Hancock via Flickr Creative Commons

Unalaskans could soon pay double the sales tax when buying alcohol and tobacco -- if voters approve the hike at the next municipal election.

The City Council added the measure to the October ballot at a meeting Tuesday night, when councilors unanimously agreed to send the issue before voters.

The measure would raise sales tax on alcohol and tobacco from three to six percent. That increase would also apply to marijuana sales, if the island ever develops a commercial pot industry.

The council has discussed raising sales tax since the fall, when Unalaska voters overturned their ban on commercial marijuana and set off a new round of regulations. Councilors say the revenue will help offset the cost of city services that are strained by excessive alcohol and marijuana consumption, such as emergency response.

The measure needs a simple majority to pass at the polls. If approved, the new sales tax will go into effect Nov. 1.

Laura Kraegel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2020. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2019. We are proud to have her back in the spring of 2023 filling in as an interim reporter for KUCB.
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