Assembly clarifies tax cap law

Rosemary Shinohara

The Anchorage Assembly last month rejected a ballot proposal to amend the city charter and clarify the city's tax cap, but Tuesday night, the Assembly voted for a new city law to do the same.

The tax cap is a limit on the annual increase of city taxes based on inflation, population growth, and taxes collected the prior year.

The ordinance, unanimously approved, clarifies that regarding property taxes, the base used for calculations of allowable increases should be the amount collected, not the amount that could be collected.

Some Assembly members and members of Mayor Dan Sullivan's administration have criticized the way former Mayor Mark Begich used state revenue sharing money to lower property taxes, but did not lower the tax cap in the process.

Assemblyman Chris Birch said he preferred an amendment to the city charter, which would have to be approved by voters but would be more difficult to change later.

Lacking agreement to do that, he said he supported the law change.