We hail from different political parties. We disagree, sometimes vigorously, on some of the most contentious issues of our day. But we have united around municipal Proposition 14, the “Care for Kids” initiative, because we all agree that to grow our economy, we need to do something about the lack of affordable child care in Anchorage.
Prop. 14 will dedicate the current local marijuana sales tax to provide affordable child care and pre-kindergarten for Anchorage children. It does not create a new tax, and doesn’t raise the current marijuana tax rate. Revenues made from Anchorage’s marijuana taxes are simply dedicated to something we know pays huge dividends in the future: quality child care and early childhood education. In fact, it goes one step further and even ratchets down the city’s total tax cap by $1 million — a proposal was unanimously approved by the Anchorage Assembly to go to voters, and it’s something we all agree we can afford.
Here’s the reality: Child care issues are going to keep holding back the Anchorage economy unless we do something about it. The US Chamber of Commerce, Alaska Chamber and Anchorage Chamber have all identified access to affordable child care and pre-kindergarten as a huge barrier to business growth. If employees cannot reliably work because they cannot find or afford child care, businesses suffer. The child care crisis is preventing the robust recovery we all hoped would happen quickly after the pandemic faded. As Anchorage tries to reverse its economic decline and attract new investment and industries, Prop. 14 can provide us with a major competitive advantage.
Prop. 14 is a smart investment in our future. We know that high quality child care and early education helps kids learn to read, succeed in their K-12 classes, graduate from high school and contribute positively to our community. By giving more families access to child care and early education, we save taxpayer dollars in the long run by reducing costs associated with remedial education, behavioral issues and even the juvenile justice system.
Not every family wants or needs child care. But our entire community benefits from addressing one of the top issues that makes it hard to do business in Anchorage. Proposition 14 is something we can all get behind, and it is a fair and novel way to solve a major community problem. To learn more, visit the prop’s website at careforkidsanchorage.com.
When you are voting in this election, remember: The most important vote you take is all the way at the bottom of the ballot. Please join us in voting yes on Proposition 14.
Eric Croft is a former Alaska legislator (as a Democrat) and Anchorage Assembly member.
Fred Dyson is a former Alaska legislator (as a Republican) and Anchorage Assembly member.
Ivy Spohnholz is a former Alaska legislator (as a Democrat).
Sara Rasmussen is a former Alaska legislator (as a Republican).
Croft, Dyson, Spohnholz and Rasmussen are steering committee members of the Yes on 14 – Care for Kids Campaign.
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