Our city leaders have once again voted to try and scam the population of Anchorage with another 5% alcohol tax. We already have the highest taxes on alcohol of anywhere I know. Previous taxes on alcohol and tobacco promised substance abuse treatment programs, but resulted in a few public service announcements, and God only knows where they actually spent the money.
As a mental health professional, I keep an eye on the available treatment resources in the Anchorage area, and I have seen no new programs opening up. The 5% alcohol tax is supposed to provide between $11 million and
$15 million to be spread out over funding police, first responders, combat child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, fund substance abuse treatment, mental and behavioral health programs and address homelessness.
I know something about what it costs to put together a competent treatment program. It would take most if not all of the $11 million just to fund a competent, lasting substance abuse treatment program that would meet our current needs. But our city leaders say they are going to spread this money out over a variety of projects. If they actually do that, it is unlikely that any of these projects will be properly funded, and have no impact on their target populations. So where’s the money really going to go? Wherever else they want it, just like they have done in the past. I urge the voters not to sucker into this pickpocket sin tax.
— Keith A. Youngblood
Have something on your mind? Send to firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to submit via any web browser. Letters under 200 words have the best chance of being published. Writers should disclose any personal or professional connections with the subjects of their letters. Letters are edited for accuracy, clarity and length.