Juneau Tobacco Tax Increase (2009)

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The Juneau Tobacco Tax Increase was on the October 6 ballot in the city and borough of Juneau, Alaska.

This measure was approved

  • YES 4,350 Approveda
  • NO 2,688[1]

The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence-Juneau (NCADD-Juneau) backed this measure that would increase taxes on tobacco products from 12 percent to 45 percent. The proposed tax increase will also raise the tax on cigarette packs from 30 cents to $1. The Juneau Assembly Finance Committee voted on July 23, 2009 to pass the measure to the ballot, however the General Assembly had the final say on whether to place the measure on the ballot. As a result, on August 24, 2009, the Juneau General Assembly voted to put the measure on the October ballot.[2][3]

Supporters maintain that although there would undoubtedly be an increase in revenue from the tax, there are more important reasons for the measure. According to NCADD-Juneau's tobacco program coordinator Wendy Hamilton: "The more expensive cigarettes are, the fewer youth start and it delays the age at which youth start,"

Opposition

Johan Dybdahl was the only member of the Assembly to vote against the proposed tax increase, stating that he is against the ordinance entirely.

According to Dybdahl:"I just don't believe that we're going to modify behavior by taxation."

Support

There has been a confusion as to what the tax would bring to the city, as far as spending is concerned. Many supporters have been concerned as to how the money collected would be spent or how much of it would be spent in certain places. Assembly member Merrill Sanford stated he was for the proposition if the increase in tax revenue would "offset present costs" that the city has in relation to substance abuse issues.

According to Sanford: "If we're going to offset usage of taxes, I can do that. Otherwise I'm not going vote for tax increases no matter what it is and no matter how good it is.[4]

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References