As the Juneau municipal election approaches, I find myself mulling over several recent newspaper articles and statistics that are readily available for everyone's review. Coeur Alaska Inc. is now ramping up construction on the Kensington gold mine north of Berners Bay. The mine will begin production in early 2007. It is estimated that Juneau will receive $10 million per year in additional tax revenues from this mine after production begins.
Today Anchorage debates whether to establish a borough-wide sales tax. Anchorage currently does not have any sales tax. Recently Juneau was ranked the sixteenth most expensive city in the country to live; it costs less to live in Juneau than New York City and it costs more to live in Juneau than Chicago, Anchorage or Fairbanks. I find myself wondering if there is any connection between Juneau's high taxes and Juneau's ranking as one of the top most expensive cities in America to live. And then I wonder if there is any tax relief coming to Juneau because of the new mine.