Shoppers in Juneau will continue to pay the same sales tax rates, for now. Local voters chose to renew the city’s 3 percent temporary sales tax through Proposition 2 in Tuesday night’s municipal election by a 3-1 margin, but shot down another question that asked to make it permanent.
Voters have renewed the temporary sales tax every four or five years since 1983, according to the city’s voter information pamphlet. City Manager Rorie Watt says it brings in about $25 million every year.
“So we use the sales tax for police, fire, road maintenance, libraries, parks and rec, city manager, everything,” Watt said.
The temporary sales tax is set to expire in 2022 if it’s not renewed again. The 3 percent is part of the city’s overall sales tax rate of 5 percent; there’s also a permanent 1 percent tax and another temporary 1 percent that is used for special projects, such as the Mendenhall Valley Library, building maintenance and sewer expansion. The 1 percent temporary tax is set to expire in 2018.
Voters also overwhelmingly backed a special 3 percent sales tax on marijuana products through Proposition 1. This brings the total marijuana tax to 8 percent — the same rate as alcohol. City staff forecast that the 3 percent increase will bring in an extra $65,000 to $175,000 a year. The money will go into the city’s general fund.