Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lame Duck Socialist Anchorage Assemblywoman Sheila Selkregg To Introduce Targeted Tax On Soft Drinks And Syrup

Update March 24th: Anchorage Assembly voted on March 23rd NOT to introduce Selkregg's soda tax; soda tax now dead!

Thank God this twit isn't running for re-election -- this is the last straw. The Anchorage Daily Planet reports that lame duck East Anchorage Assemblywoman Sheila Selkregg intends to introduce a targeted tax on all soft drinks and simple syrup bought in Anchorage. But her motive isn't merely financial; there's "morality" behind it. In other words, it's another frigging sin tax.

Update: On March 19th, the Anchorage Daily News finally published a story.

The proposed ordinance, designated AO 2010-29, would impose a tax of 100 mills on each soft drink brought into the city, which is the equivalent of about 10 cents. Syrup would be taxed at slightly more than 7 cents per gallon. Ultimately, the tax would apply to carbonated and non-carbonated drinks, including soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, any flavored drinks, diluted fruit and vegetable drinks, and even bottled water.

The ordinance also would require all businesses selling soft drinks to apply for a license and pay an annual fee of $100 to the city. It would exempt soft drinks bought and sold by military establishments such as the base exchange, commissary or ship’s store, and would require exempt businesses to apply for an exemption card as well as a license. So there's a boatload of bureaucracy attendant to this scheme.

Selkregg, who plans to introduce the tax proposal on March 23rd (agenda available HERE), said the proceeds would be used to fund after-school obesity prevention programs for Anchorage’s youth and combat the city’s growing weight problem. Selkregg published her full justification in AM 172-2010. But Mayor Dan Sullivan said an excise tax on soft drinks and simple syrup would be an uncalled for intrusion into the realm of personal consumption.

For the ordinance to be successfully introduced and placed on a future agenda for public testimony, it would require "seconding" by at least two other Assembly members. Here's the list of other members and how they're likely to vote on it.

Ossiander - No
Starr - No
Coffey - Probably No
Flynn - Says No HERE
Gray-Jackson - Possibly Yes
Birch - No
Johnston - No
Drummond - Yes
Gutierrez - Possibly Yes
Claman - Yes

Thus Harriet Drummond and Matt Claman are the two most likely Assembly members to second the motion for a successful introduction. It would then be scheduled for a public hearing, perhaps as early as the first Assembly meeting in April. However, there's good news; because April 6th is election day, the first Assembly meeting in April won't be until April 13th. By that time, the balance of power on the Assembly might change from liberal to conservative. That would kill the proposed soda tax.

The chances of the new Assembly going conservative are good. In Selkregg's district, Adam Trombley would definitely oppose a soda tax, while "independent" candidate Paul Honeman would be likely to oppose the tax. This race appears to be a toss-up right now. In West Anchorage, Ernie Hall will probably defeat Matt Claman by a narrow margin; Hall probably wouldn't support the tax. In the other East Anchorage race, Dick Traini, who's likely to prevail, would probably not support the tax; Andy Clary would definitely oppose it. And both Debbie Ossiander and Jennifer Johnston should be handily re-elected to their seats. You can review all the candidates at this static post.

Analysis: Targeted sin taxes are NOT the way to go. Sin taxes become self-sunsetting; when the population stops committing the "sin", revenues drop regardless of the community's needs. The primary purpose of taxation should be to raise revenue rather than change behavior. There's no question that sales taxation is necessary in Anchorage to diversify, stabilize, and balance our revenue stream, but targeted taxes are NOT the way to go; a general sales tax offsetting property taxes is the better way. Dan Fagan likes to say "you can't tax your way to prosperity"; to that I would add "you can't tax your way to good health".

Sheila Selkregg talks about funding after-school obesity prevention programs for Anchorage’s youth? Here are two good obesity prevention programs which can be implemented during school; recess, and physical education. These programs have been de-emphasized over the years. Review the list of school board candidates, find out which ones want to institute more physical education, and support them.

What's really despicable is the way Sheila Selkregg snuck this legislation in with absolutely no fanfare. It is unquestionably her desire to catch us all off-guard. No soap -- the Daily Planet was the first to blow the whistle on her, and I'm the second, picking up the Planet story and adding a gaggle of pertinent links.

Thank God Sheila Selkregg did NOT run for re-election. She is almost as repulsive as Nancy Pelosi.


  1. "But her motive isn't merely financial; there's "morality" behind it." That should read "there is her version of morality behind it". The simple fact is that she is trying to impose her morality on others. This is the 'sin' leftest have accused the right and religious people of doing for years, ignoring the fact that typical moral legislation promoted by the right and religious people are aimed at moral issues which are direct assaults on society and freedoms whereas the "moral legislation" promoted by the left are the assaults on society and freedoms the right and religious people oppose. This makes Selkregg your typical leftist hypocrite.

  2. I jumped all over her tonight in an email and explained that she was crazy if she thought this would fly. I knew Lidia and her daughter is nothing like the mother I knew. I too, am glad she is not running for reelection.