Assembly approves 60 percent aircraft tax cut

Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2001

The Juneau Assembly unanimously approved an ordinance Friday that will reduce property taxes on commercial planes and helicopters by about 60 percent.

The ordinance sets up a tax schedule that varies by aircraft weight. It doesn't include a new tax on commercial boats that was part of an earlier proposal. The Assembly decided last week to put the boat tax on hold and set up a work group to discuss the issue.

Mayor Sally Smith said she agreed there was an inequity issue with air carriers, but added that she was concerned about a loss of revenue. The ordinance will reduce city revenues by an estimated $180,000.

Deputy Mayor Ken Koelsch said the ordinance removes a disincentive for air carriers. "We're 60 percent of the way there in taking care of the equity issue," he said.

Air carriers told Assembly members in May that property aircraft assessments were unfair compared to taxes of other business property. Wings of Alaska President Bob Jacobsen said Friday the aircraft ordinance goes a long way in making taxes more fair. The change also will make it easier for carriers to invest in quieter technology, he said.

The Assembly also unanimously approved a 75-cent monthly surcharge on cell phones, with revenues to support 911 emergency services. The city currently imposes a surcharge on regular phones for the same purpose.

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