Assembly puts food tax on table—again

The seasonal exemption from sales taxes on non-prepared food items is on the table again.

Blaine Gilman of Kenai introduced the ordinance that would allow for the borough to collect taxes from Sept.1 until May 31 on non-prepared groceries, during Tuesday’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting.

The borough has missed the opportunity to collect nearly $3 million in tax revenue annually without the exemptions, according to the ordinance. If approved, the generated revenue would go to funding schools.

Nikiski resident James Price, who has been fighting the exemption since 2008, said he appreciated being allowed to comment at the initial introduction of the ordinance. He said he did not understand why the borough was trying to tax people’s groceries.

“Every other tax that we collect in the borough goes also to education,” Price said. “This isn’t an exclusive way to generate funding for schools.”

The ordinance will open for public comment on March 17.