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New Ballot Measure May Double Sales Tax On Alcohol And Tobacco

Feb 14, 2017

Credit 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.