SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Chamber says "No" to tax increases
Foster growth: Cut local taxes and expenses


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 20, 2009.

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 competitive port.
  • 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 foster growth.

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.



Source of News:

Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce


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