Various tax issues are on the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly agenda for Monday, including a marijuana retail sales tax that, if approved, might go in front of voters in October.
The ordinance currently calls for a 10-percent tax, but the Assembly at its last meeting expressed a desire to lower that to 5 percent. An amendment to that effect is on the agenda.
If approved as an excise tax, the measure would not need voter ratification. However, if the Assembly chooses to approve the tax as a special sales tax, it would need to go on the ballot, according to borough code.
In either case, a 5-percent borough pot tax would mirror the City of Ketchikan’s 5-percent marijuana tax. The borough then would credit the city for its 5 percent, so, in that case, the overall cannabis tax within city limits would not increase.
If the tax passes all hurdles, the proceeds are intended for grants for local nonprofit agencies.
Another potential tax that also would be designated for nonprofit grants is the borough transient occupancy tax –a hotel-room tax. The borough currently waives its 4-percent transient tax within city limits. On the agenda for Monday is an ordinance eliminating that waiver.
In his report to the Assembly, Borough Manager Ruben Duran also asks for direction regarding the borough’s tobacco tax.
During a recent meeting, there was some interest in redirecting 15 percent of the tobacco tax proceeds toward nonprofit grants. That would require an amendment, he writes, because the code currently directs those proceeds toward smoking cessation programs.
Monday’s Assembly meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in Borough Assembly chambers. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.
This report has been edited to clarify the marijuana tax information.