Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Mat-Su Voters Reject Both A Borough Alcohol Tax And Vic Kohring's Bid For A Wasilla City Council Seat

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough was one of several Alaska regions holding local elections on October 1st, 2013, and two high-profile issues were resolved unfavorably for their proponents. Borough voters authoritatively rejected Proposition B-1 which was a proposed 5 percent alcohol tax, and Wasilla voters rejected Vic Kohring's bid for a city council seat by a near 2-2 margin. Links to raw election results:

-- Mat-Su Borough Election Results
-- City Of Wasilla Election Results
-- City Of Houston Election Results
-- City Of Palmer Election Results

The five percent alcohol tax, rejected by 63.7 percent of the voters (6231 No, 3548 Yes) would have become completely effective no later than January 1st, 2014. Not only would it have required alcohol sellers to collect the tax, but they would have to file monthly reports. Proponents included the Mat-Su Health Foundation, with editorial support from the Anchorage Daily News and the Mat-Su Frontiersman. The latter played up the advantages to property taxpayers, saying passage of the alcohol tax could act as a brake on future property tax hikes, although they admitted that the proposition’s language regarding prospective beneficiaries of the tax was inexact. Opponents included the Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant & Retailer's Association (CHARR), with editorial support from Northern Right. Every precinct rejected the alcohol tax, although percentages varied from just over 52 percent in Palmer, Sutton, and Lazy Mountain to a whopping 78 percent rejection in Big Lake.

Voters rejected the proposed tax not only because of the increased paperwork imposed upon alcohol sellers, but some believe alcohol taxes imposed by the state are already too high. In addition, Wasilla and Palmer also impose municipal sales taxes; some were concerned this tax would be used to backdoor a boroughwide general sales tax in the future. Voters may also be suffering from "nanny fatigue"; too many health nazis trying to dictate to us how to live. What's amusing is that in their editorial, the Frontiersman wrote "there is no vocal opposition to the measure within the borough".

You reckon 63.7 percent No is vocal enough for them now?

Wasilla city voters were even less forgiving of former Rep. Vic Kohring, who decided to launch a political comeback by running against incumbent Brandon Wall for Seat F of the city council. Voters said "no thanks" and re-elected Wall with 68 percent of the vote. Kohring only got 31.6 percent. His 2011 guilty plea to one count of felony extortion-conspiracy and accompanying admission of taking $1,000 from former VECO chief Bill Allen was too much for him to overcome despite the fact that Kohring told his side of the story in meticulous detail HERE. Kohring had served 12 months of a 3 1/2-year prison sentence, but his 2007 jury conviction tossed over prosecutorial misconduct. Yet a vengeful Justice Department sought a new trial, and Kohring rolled over because ZOG had bankrupted him, leaving him with no way to pay for an effective defense.

But Kohring may have picked the wrong race -- and, in particular, the wrong opponent -- to target for his comeback. Although Kohring is an outspoken fiscal conservative, Brandon Wall also has a reputation for being a fiscal conservative. So Kohring didn't really offer a difference, except to bring a bunch of personal baggage to the table. However, this defeat may not end Kohring's political ambitions; Wasilla has vacancies on their Airport Advisory Commission, the Parks & Recreation Commission, and the Planning Commission. Kohring would have to submit an application for the desired post by November 1st if he wants to be considered.

Wasilla voters also voted for two other city council members and tentatively approved a one percent sales tax increase by an narrow margin to finance a replacement for their antiquated ramshackle public library. Houston voters chose to retain their 2 percent tax on fireworks by a 100-79 margin, a smart move since Houston is the only city in the state permitting fireworks sales.

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