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Tax initiative for Kenai Peninsula missed ballot deadline

July 27, 2018

KENAI, Alaska (AP) — An initiative seeking to raise the sales tax in the Kenai Peninsula Borough by 0.5 percent will not make it on the October ballot but might make it onto the ballot next year.

The group of residents behind the ballot initiative informed the borough clerk’s office that it did not have enough signatures to meet the deadline this week for the October ballot, the Peninsula Clarion reported .

The initiative would increase the borough-wide sales tax rate from 3 percent to 3.5 percent. The tax revenue would be directed for education.

The group collected nearly half of the 2,200 signatures required to place the initiative on the ballot, said Linda Hutchings, a Soldotna resident and the initiative’s main sponsor. The sponsors filed the petition last month to begin collecting signatures.

The sponsors have 90 days from when the petition was filed to gather signatures, so the initiative could still be placed on the ballot for next year, Borough Clerk Johni Blankenship said. The sponsors have until late September to turn in the signatures.

“We’re very, very happy with the results that we have had, and plugging on,” Hutchings said. “We think we’re going to achieve our goal.”

The feedback for the initiative has been largely positive and many people seem willing to support the tax increase in order to benefit education, Hutchings said.

The borough assembly voted down an identical ordinance raising the sales tax. The measure would have still required voter approval. The borough finance department estimated that it would have brought the borough about $5 million each year.

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Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, http://www.peninsulaclarion.com

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