Kenai (Alaska) Peninsula Borough voters will again have to decide whether they want to institute a bed tax on all hotels, campsites, RV parks and lodges, according to AM 890.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly approved an ordinance Tuesday (June 18) night that places a question about the bed tax on the October ballot. But instead of the original 12%, the assembly decreased the tax levy to 10% and removed the exemption for campsites and RV parks.
Assembly member Dale Bagley, the sponsor, said he heard more information and decided it was worth it to include RV parks for equity among taxpayers.
“Somewhere along the way, I got some misinformation on how much revenue it would bring in,” he said. “I believe it would bring in somewhere close to $75,000, we heard today during committee meeting. I think it’s a fairness issue, and I wanted to go ahead and add this back in.”
Bagley’s original ordinance was set at 12%, but assembly member Willy Dunne of Homer proposed lowering the amount to 10%.
“It would still be a significant source of revenue for the borough and for education and it would be a little less burdensome on the people paying the tax,” he said.
This is the third time in the past two years the assembly has talked about a bed tax, but the first time it’s actually made it to the ballot since 2005. Each other time, objections from the public and controversy on the assembly has led to the ordinance’s demise.
Lodging business owners showed up to speak against the ordinance, saying it was unfair to single out their industry and that this kind of tax increase could deter tourists. Many of them mentioned the per head, per night policy for lodging sales taxes, which prevents them from hitting the borough sales tax cap of $500 as well.
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