I would like to clarify a couple of statements about sales tax exemptions attributed to me in an article in Sunday's Juneau Empire. The Mayor's Fiscal Task Force, which I chaired, recommended eliminating seven of the 39 sales tax exemptions and modifying several other exemptions. Before any sales tax exemptions could be removed from the books, a thorough Assembly discussion and public hearing would occur.
The recommendations of the Fiscal Task Force were not made lightly, but after 24 public meetings and months of deliberation and analysis of Juneau's economic health. For the benefit of all Juneau residents, especially struggling young families, sales tax exemptions all 39 of them need to be looked at.
Of significant interest to many of our residents is the existing sales tax exemption for senior citizens on retail sales. The recommendation of the Task Force was to phase out this exemption over time, meaning anyone currently residing in Juneau and now enjoying this exemption would be "grandfathered in." That means that residents 65 and older would not be charged sales tax for any purchase for as long as they continued to live in Juneau. Again, this could not occur without a full public hearing.
I hope this clarifies some misunderstandings.