Anti-alcohol advocates in Anchorage, Alaska, say a 10 percent tax at the wholesale level on all alcohol sold in the city will help curb public drunkenness.
A group headed by the former leader of the local Mothers Against Drunk Driving chapter wants to get the tax on the ballot for the next election cycle. The group has already lined up the support of Mayor Mark Begich and other politicians. The group says the tax would raise $10 million to $12 million annually, which they claim would be directed to fund additional police and to help people with alcohol problems.
The Anchorage Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailers Association says the tax is too high and they will fight the measure. The businesses have initiated several programs, including free rides home for people who have consumed too much alcohol.
Anchorage voters rejected an 8 percent sales tax on alcohol in 1994 and 1995. An attempt to get a similar measure on the ballot in 2002 failed when supporters could not obtain enough signatures. Since 2002, Alaska has had a 10 percent drink tax.