The fight against Grocery Tax has been long and brutal:
History of the Grocery Tax in the Kenai Peninsula Borough:
- We WON in the Alaska Supreme Court (legal fight started in 2010) to proceed with our referendum, Proposition One, which the voters passed in 2015! this upheld the voters 2008 vote which called for NO grocery taxation.
- We notified voters borough wide to help DEFEAT more grocery taxation proposed by the borough Assembly (in 2015 and 2016). With your help, those multiple ordinances were brought down.
- We worked with the Borough Assembly to PASS an ordinance giving us the right to address voters in the election pamphlet!
History of the Grocery Tax in the Kenai Peninsula Borough:
- 2008: Voters approved our citizens' initiative by 60% to end ALL Winter Grocery Tax (for all Borough & General Law cities' taxes). The borough's 3% winter grocery tax was removed and the general law cities tax SHOULD HAVE BEEN removed as well, except the borough circumvented that – please see below.
- 2008: Several weeks before voters approved our citizens' initiative, the assembly passed Ordinance 2008-28, to authorize the general law cities to continue to tax your groceries. Because of this assembly ordinance, voters were denied their full initiative. Our referendum, Proposition One, on the upcoming October 6 ballot, will allow voters to overturn the borough's ordinance.
- 2010: In an effort to uphold the will of the voters, we filed a referendum to repeal Borough Ordinance 2008-28. Our referendum was denied by the borough clerk. We challenged it in court. It was denied by the local Kenai Superior Court. We took it to the Alaska Supreme Court.
- 2011: While our above referendum was tied up in court, the Borough Assembly asked voters to repeal their VOTER APPROVED 2008 citizens' initiative. The voters said NO with an overwhelming 69%+ vote!
- 2014: Four years later, in 2014, the Alaska Supreme Court declared that local citizens have the legal right to repeal Borough Ordinance 2008-28. We gathered 1,875 signatures and put our referendum on the upcoming 2015 October 6th borough ballot as Proposition One.
- 2015: The City of Soldotna held a special election for a Charter Commission on February 3, 2015, with the intent of changing from a general law city to a home rule city. Soldotna's city manager Mark Dixson said that our citizens' referendum, now Proposition One on the upcoming October ballot which would uphold the voter's 2008 approved initiative, was a "catalyst" for the city's desire to move to home-rule. The City of Soldotna was trying to move to home rule so that they could continue to tax your winter groceries. Soldotna voters voted down home rule with a 63% NO vote! For more details on the City of Soldotna's February 3 Special Election, please click here.
- 2015: On February 3, Borough Assemblyman Blaine Gilman (Kenai district), introduced Ordinance 2015-03 which would have repealed YOUR ENTIRE voter approved 2008 Grocery Tax Exemption. This could have likely been passed by a vote of just 5 Borough Assembly members and NOT have gone to a vote of the people. Please read on for the outcome of Gilman's ordinance.
- 2015: On March 2, the School Board voted 6-3 to NOT support Assemblyman Blaine Gilman's ordinance. The tax revenues from this grocery tax ordinance would have been used to fund education. The School Board listened to the voters who voted in 2008 and 2011 to get rid of and to keep off winter grocery taxes. The School Board upheld the will of the people! Gilman's proposed ordinance continued on to a public hearing and a vote of the borough assembly on March 17.
- 2015: On March 17, at the Borough Assembly Meeting, Assemblyman Blaine Gilman's ordinance, to repeal the voter's 2008 approved initiative, was voted on by the assembly members and it FAILED!
- 2015: HOWEVER, on March 17, the Assembly introduced YET ANOTHER ordinance to try INCREASE YOUR WINTER GROCERY TAX! They continue to try to repeal part of YOUR voter approved 2008 Grocery Tax Exemption and NOT take NO for an answer from the voters. Assemblyman Dale Bagley (Soldotna district), has introduced Ordinance 2015-03 Substitute which would change your current 9 month winter grocery tax exemption down to 6 months.
This ordinance would therefore establish 3 MONTHS of WINTER GROCERY TAX! For those 3 months, they would raise your winter grocery tax by 3% and as much as 7.5%. The Borough Assembly members could pass this WITHOUT a vote of the people, and with a vote of only 5 assembly members. Then, thousands of signatures by local citizens and thousands of votes in support of the Grocery Tax Exemption will be nullified and the Borough will continue to increase your grocery tax! Please tell the assembly members to NOT INCREASE TAX on our winter groceries - click on our "Take Action" page. Thank you!
- 2015: On April 7th, the Assembly UNFORTUNATELY PASSED Bagley's Grocery Tax with a 5-4 vote. HOWEVER, it was motioned to be reconsidered. Will the Assembly vote on April 21st to pass it AGAIN, or uphold the will of the voters and vote it DOWN? To send an email to the Assembly urging them to vote NO, or for more information, click on http://www.endgrocerytax.com/take-action.html.
- 2015: On April 21st, the Assembly voted DOWN Bagley's Grocery Tax Ordinance! It FAILED with a 5-4 vote. Click here for details including how the assembly members voted.
- 2015: On October 6, 2016, the Kenai Peninsula Borough voters voted YES on Prop 1 to get rid of winter grocery taxes in the general law cities!
- 2016: In April, Assemblyman Dale Bagley proposed an ordinance to tax more of our groceries. For the second year in a row, he wanted to increase the 3% borough grocery tax from 3 months to 6 months. In May, Bagley's ordinance was voted down by the Assembly, thanks to voters borough wide who sent in emails to the Assembly or showed up a the meetings to tell the Assembly members to Vote NO.
- 2016: In October, the city of Soldotna voters passed a city proposition for Soldotna to become a Home Rule government, so that they can tax your groceries in the city of Soldotna. The proponents of this proposition, including the City of Soldotna representatives, threatened the city residents that they would have to raise property taxes if the city voters did not approve Home Rule and the taxation of groceries in the winter (Sep-May).
- 2017: In May, Assemblyman Dale Bagley (Soldotna representative) introduced ANOTHER grocery tax ordinance, again trying to INCREASE the 3% borough grocery tax from 3 months to 6 months per year. This is the THIRD time in 3 years that Bagley has done this. Please urge the Assembly to Vote NO on June 6, 2017.