Chamber says "No"
to tax increases
Foster growth: Cut local taxes
February 26, 2009
(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - The Greater Ketchikan Chamber of
Commerce is "adamantly opposed" to any increase in
taxes in Ketchikan and even "more opposed" to a seasonal
increase in sales tax.
The Chamber's Board of Directors
voted unanimously on February 9, 2009, to issue a statement in
opposition to the seasonal sales tax proposed by the Ketchikan
Gateway Borough. The duty of drafting a position letter for the
Chamber was then tasked to a committee. The finalized position
letter was then forwarded to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Mayor
and Assembly members through the Borough Clerk's office on February
In their position letter the
Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce stated, with the Ketchikan and
United States economy presently in a severe recession, the Chamber
is "adamantly opposed to any increase in taxes in Ketchikan
and even more opposed to a seasonal increase in sales tax".
Seven reasons were listed in
the Chamber's letter to the Borough Mayor and Assembly members
for opposing a seasonal increase in sales tax and any increase
in taxes. Quoting the letter the reasons listed are as follows:
- It is the duty of the Chamber
to foster a positive business environment.
- It is not just the visitor
industry in Ketchikan that conducts most of its business from
April through September. A seasonal sales tax would also adversely
affect most all of Ketchikan's local businesses; just when they
are beginning to gear up for the season. Ultimately, a seasonal
sales tax would just encourage additional purchases from out-of-state-vendors
who do not charge sales tax on products bound for Ketchikan.
- Ketchikan needs to remain
a competitive port of call as opposed to a "me too"
port. Just because other Southeast communities have implemented,
or are looking at implementing such a tax, does not mean that
Ketchikan shouldn't strive to become the most hospitable and
- The additional tax would adversely
affect hotels, lodges, and bed and breakfast operators by raising
their combined sales and transient occupancy taxers from an already
high rate of 13% to 14% during the summer when they too conduct
most of their business.
- It is not practical to suggest
these items could be pre-purchased in the winter before the tax
rate goes up. Many people have a hard enough time paying for
what they need at all, let alone months before the need arises
or their seasonal income begins to flow in June or July.
- On multiple past occasions,
this community has voted against implementation of a head tax.
This proposal is essentially equivalent to a head tax, only one
the expands to impose heavily upon local residences as well.
- The Chamber believes the assembly
should be looking at ways to cut local taxes and expenses to
The letter was signed by Andrew
Spokely, President of the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce, and
Blaine Ashcraft, Executive Director. The 2009 Board of Directors
are Jim Fowler, Miguel Torres, J.C. Conley, Diane Naab, Joe Johnston,
Blake Chupka, Jason Harris, and Eric Hargroves.
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