Anchorage Assembly Candidates

Please note that this list contains only those candidates that have completed the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Assembly Candidate Questionaire.

 

Eagle River/Chugiak

Amy Demboski

How do you propose making Anchorage a safe place to live; including affordable housing, a living wage, and great schools?
Sound fiscal policy will allow us to maintain a strong police force, ensuring classroom resources and teachers are prioritized, and being dynamic and responsive with the challenges in the New Title 21 to assist with building affordable housing.

 

 

Do you support a year-round or seasonal sales tax even if it doesn't reduce property taxes?
No.

Why or why not?
Multiple factors are required before I will support any new tax. Current spending has to be responsible, any sales tax should offset property taxes, and it would have to be passed by 60% of the voters.


With the increases currently proposed that impact property tax owners, what are your plans to reduce the property tax burden on Anchorage business?
I opposed the $11.4 million property tax increase passed by Mayor Berkowitz and the Assembly. I will continue to propose direct cost reductions, shared services, as well as options to cut bureaucratic processes that add no value.

Do you support expedited zoning for generous use of high density and mixed use around town centers, employment centers, and downtown as outlined in the Anchorage Bowl Land Use Plan Map?
The Land Use Plan Map is in draft and has not been adequately vetted; therefore, it is premature to endorse the map. My record has demonstrated my support of high density and mixed use areas specifically near employment centers and downtown.

What are your top three priorities for the Municipality of Anchorage?
Ensure fiscal stability and lower taxes, effective delivery of essential services, and fixing many of the issues within the New Title 21 that will lead to increased cost in construction and a slow down in the housing market.

What are your recommendations with Alaska's fiscal challenges of growing Anchorage's economy?
First and foremost, the State needs to identify essential services, and then substantial cuts need to be made prior to taxing Alaskans.

What are your recommendations on handling commercial marijuana businesses in Anchorage?
I have been a lead in developing and passing the land use, zoning and licensing ordinances for the Municipality. The process needs to be clear and predictable, and responsive to community and industry concerns.

Which if any of the Municipal Bonds on the ballot do you support?
I am supportive of the public safety bonds.

East Anchorage

Terre GalesHow do you propose making Anchorage a safe place to live; including affordable housing, a living wage, and great schools?
More officers, current permitting process drives up the cost of construction, government needs to keep the costs of running a business down and my first priority will be to lobby our legislature to create districts for our school board members.

Do you support a year-round or seasonal sales tax even if it doesn't reduce property taxes?
No.

Why or why not?
I would only support this if it would be used to lower the tax burden on the property owners.

With the increases currently proposed that impact property tax owners, what are your plans to reduce the property tax burden on Anchorage business?
I am a co-sponsor of the tax cap initiative.

Do you support expedited zoning for generous use of high density and mixed use around town centers, employment centers, and downtown as outlined in the Anchorage Bowl Land Use Plan Map?
I support anything that speeds up the process of government.

What are your top three priorities for the Municipality of Anchorage?
Stop over taxation, improve school district accountability and improve policing strategies.

What are your recommendations with Alaska's fiscal challenges of growing Anchorage's economy?
Like the residents of Alaska, government needs to learn to do more with less.

What are your recommendations on handling commercial marijuana businesses in Anchorage?
This is an issue that I will have to take as it progresses. I tend to feel that they should be treated like bars, clubs, etc.

Which if any of the Municipal Bonds on the ballot do you support?
We need to fix our spending problem before taking on more debt.

Forrest DunbarHow do you propose making Anchorage a safe place to live; including affordable housing, a living wage, and great schools?
We must be a forward-looking, welcoming, and above all SAFE city. I am honored to be endorsed by police, firefighters, and a number of business leaders. Long-term housing solutions and diverse educational programs are also needed.

Do you support a year-round or seasonal sales tax even if it doesn't reduce property taxes?
I know that Assemblyman Bill Evans has proposed a sales tax, however, I will not support it if it does not reduce property taxes.

Why or why not?
As I've gone door-to-door, many residents have brought up the property tax. At present, we have a relatively large portion of the tax burden falling on homeowners. I will be looking for ways to reduce that burden.

With the increases currently proposed that impact property tax owners, what are your plans to reduce the property tax burden on Anchorage business?
I'm not familiar with proposals to increase property taxes on businesses. I wish to keep us "open for business." I will only support taxes that provide for critical services like police, fire, and snow removal, which benefit businesses as well.

Do you support expedited zoning for generous use of high density and mixed use around town centers, employment centers, and downtown as outlined in the Anchorage Bowl Land Use Plan Map?
Yes, if it is in line with Anchorage Bowl Land Use Plan Map. Many people in my generation are looking for mixed-use development and walkable living areas. I plan to look for ways to make this kind of development work for our community.

What are your top three priorities for the Municipality of Anchorage?
- Public Safety
- Fiscal discipline
- Maintaining a high quality of life that draws and retains people in our city

What are your recommendations with Alaska's fiscal challenges of growing Anchorage's economy?
We have to grow the pie while diversifying. We cannot rely on one industry this heavily forever. We must improve the regulatory climate, keep taxes low, while investing in critical infrastructure, high-quality schools, and adequate public safety.

What are your recommendations on handling commercial marijuana businesses in Anchorage?
A majority in East Anchorage voted to legalize marijuana. I support regulations to protect the health and safety of the community, but will not do so when "health and safety" is only a pretext. That would be an undemocratic nullification of the law.

Which if any of the Municipal Bonds on the ballot do you support?
I am glad that we have retired more bond debt than we have added in recent years. Therefore, I support Anchorage Tomorrow and all of the current municipal bonds. The bonds provide critical maintenance and repairs; delay will lead to higher costs.

Midtown

How do you propose making Anchorage a safe place to live; including affordable housing, a living wage, and great schools?
By working with the current Administration to share our joint goal of a workable title 21, more land for housing in Eagle River and our current working ASD to accomplish great schools in Anchorage.

Do you support a year-round or seasonal sales tax even if it doesn't reduce property taxes?
Noand neither does the public, to be fair it must reduce property taxes dollar for dollar.

Why or why not?
The other big problem is JBER sales which cannot be taxed..


With the increases currently proposed that impact property tax owners, what are your plans to reduce the property tax burden on Anchorage business?
Diversify the income tax base as I did with the tobacco tax which adds 23 million to our tax base and reduces property taxes

Do you support expedited zoning for generous use of high density and mixed use around town centers, employment centers, and downtown as outlined in the Anchorage Bowl Land Use Plan Map?
Yes where possible and tax deferment to encourage development and redevelopment where possible

What are your top three priorities for the Municipality of Anchorage?
A great public safety system with full manning at the level called for in the new PERF study, without a great public safety system you do not have a workable police and fire system, live within our means as a city

What are your recommendations with Alaska's fiscal challenges of growing Anchorage's economy?
Do not let the state shift their problems onto the tax payers of Anchorage, this is a great growing town, we need state support not roadblocks

What are your recommendations on handling commercial marijuana businesses in Anchorage?
Regulate, tax, and control the impact upon our town, in reality it is coming we need to deal with it and not run from it. We have put laws into effect that should help and be willing to adapt

Which if any of the Municipal Bonds on the ballot do you support?
Roads, public safety, infrastructure, parks bonds

West Anchorage

Eric Croft

How do you propose making Anchorage a safe place to live; including affordable housing, a living wage, and great schools?
We need to enable our police to put the truly-dangerous behind bars, while finding ways for the stupid or addicted (these are different things) to get help. We must continue to reduce waste in the district and focus our resources on the classroom.

 

 

Do you support a year-round or seasonal sales tax even if it doesn't reduce property taxes?
I would only consider a sales tax that provided substantial property tax relief.

Why or why not?
Sales taxes are a burden on small and medium-sized businesses and hit the poor hardest. Personally and as a business owner, I do not like them. I do recognize that it would help diversify Anchorage’s tax base.


With the increases currently proposed that impact property tax owners, what are your plans to reduce the property tax burden on Anchorage business?
Going door-to-door, I've heard people are more upset with the assessment process than the mill rate. I will work towards a fair and transparent assessment and appeal process. People are willing to pay their fair share if they trust the system.

Do you support expedited zoning for generous use of high density and mixed use around town centers, employment centers, and downtown as outlined in the Anchorage Bowl Land Use Plan Map?
Yes. We need to carefully explain this to the public and the affected communities in advance.

What are your top three priorities for the Municipality of Anchorage?
Public safety
Education
Economic growth- including affordable housing

What are your recommendations with Alaska's fiscal challenges of growing Anchorage's economy?
In the late 1990s, with oil at $12 per barrel, I joined a bi-partisan group of legislators in proposing a combination of politically dangerous proposals. This generation of legislators needs to show that same courage. No single proposal is enough.

What are your recommendations on handling commercial marijuana businesses in Anchorage?
This needs to be handled carefully. We are balancing the will of the people expressed through passage of the marijuana initiative against some legitimate public safety concerns.

Which if any of the Municipal Bonds on the ballot do you support?
I support the 2016 Muni and ASD Bonds. On the School Board, I called to reduce the bond amount and introduced the discussion of school closures. This was painful but it is fiscally irresponsible for us to ignore the issue of excess school capacity.

Ira Pearlman

How do you propose making Anchorage a safe place to live; including affordable housing, a living wage, and great schools?
Safety: We need more police officers.
Affordable housing: (Please see my response below):
A living wage: A strong economy can pay better (living) wages. (Please see below)
Great schools: 1) More/better parental involvement and 2) quality Pre-K.

 

 

Do you support a year-round or seasonal sales tax even if it doesn't reduce property taxes?
I do not support a sales tax upon local residents. I would, however, not oppose a public vote on one.

Why or why not?
1) It will cost the Municipality about one million dollars to administer a sales tax. There are better uses for that much money.
2) A sales tax will discourage shoppers from Mat-Su and the Kenai Peninsula Boroughs from shopping in Anchorage.


With the increases currently proposed that impact property tax owners, what are your plans to reduce the property tax burden on Anchorage business?
For broad property tax relief (residents as well as businesses) I would consider payment in lieu of taxes for some exempt properties currently consume public services without paying for them.
FYI: I own commercial real estate in Anchorage.

Do you support expedited zoning for generous use of high density and mixed use around town centers, employment centers, and downtown as outlined in the Anchorage Bowl Land Use Plan Map?
I am not sure what is meant by “expedited” but generally, yes, I support higher density and mixed use zoning in those areas identified in the ABLUP for this (i.e.: the Spenard Road corridor practically screams for this type of development).

What are your top three priorities for the Municipality of Anchorage?
1) Economic development (see my response to the next question)
2) Public Safety: More officers available to respond to and prevent crimes.
3) Public Schools: We need better results. Are we getting our money’s worth?

What are your recommendations with Alaska's fiscal challenges of growing Anchorage's economy?
Focus investments, incentives where the economy shows strength:
1) Healthcare – Brings in revenue.
2) Air cargo, logistics. Opportunities for further growth.
3) Tourism – Also a growth industry
4) New Business Development - Encourage entrepreneurs

What are your recommendations on handling commercial marijuana businesses in Anchorage?
Let’s try it. This is a small business development opportunity. There is considerable entrepreneurial energy around this new opportunity. Let’s not over-regulate or tax it to death lest the black market continue to thrive

Which if any of the Municipal Bonds on the ballot do you support?
1) Roads and Drainage
2) Fire equipment
3) Police equipment
4) Parks and trails
5) School: “Roofs, boilers and buses” – although I wish this were a considerably smaller bond.

How do you propose making Anchorage a safe place to live; including affordable housing, a living wage, and great schools?
I will expand my Third Party Plan Review to all construction. I will advocate funding teachers rather than excess building space. I will lower the tax and regulatory burden to spur greater business investment.

Do you support a year-round or seasonal sales tax even if it doesn't reduce property taxes?
No.

Why or why not?
The City doesn't need additional revenue. We need to be responsible with what's already levied.


With the increases currently proposed that impact property tax owners, what are your plans to reduce the property tax burden on Anchorage business?
I'm proud to be an original sponsor of Prop 8 which will repair our tax cap. I will also continue to introduce and pass budget amendments which simply cut property taxes.

Do you support expedited zoning for generous use of high density and mixed use around town centers, employment centers, and downtown as outlined in the Anchorage Bowl Land Use Plan Map?
Yes.

What are your top three priorities for the Municipality of Anchorage?
Expand Third Party Review to all construction. It has allowed homes to go up faster and at a less regulatory cost, all the while creating private sector jobs.
Reducing property taxes
Fixing aspects of the new Title 21.

What are your recommendations with Alaska's fiscal challenges of growing Anchorage's economy?
I will reduce property taxes and remove regulatory burdens, specifically Title 21 and building permitting. I will also allow the private sector to assume some of the services currently done by the City.

What are your recommendations on handling commercial marijuana businesses in Anchorage?
It should be regulated very much the same way the Liquor Industry is regulated. Businesses should only be authorized in certain zoning districts. Potential business owners should present their business plan to the local Community Council.

Which if any of the Municipal Bonds on the ballot do you support?
The road bond which includes funds for the Spenard Road Improvement

South Anchorage

Treg Taylor

How do you propose making Anchorage a safe place to live; including affordable housing, a living wage, and great schools?
We live in a great city with an abundance of natural beauty and hard working families. Anchorage needs to be fiscally responsible and provide incentives for growth.

 

 

Do you support a year-round or seasonal sales tax even if it doesn't reduce property taxes?
I do not support a year-round or seasonal sales tax if it does not reduce property taxes dollar for dollar.

Why or why not?
Anchorage families are very concerned about the local economy, government needs set constraints to allow families and business to foster.


With the increases currently proposed that impact property tax owners, what are your plans to reduce the property tax burden on Anchorage business?
Professionaly I have seen dramatic economic downturns: 2008 and current energy market. Both times we had to roll up our sleeves and make hard decisions in order to remain economically viable - in Anchorage we can do the same.

Do you support expedited zoning for generous use of high density and mixed use around town centers, employment centers, and downtown as outlined in the Anchorage Bowl Land Use Plan Map?
Yes, Anchorage has a shortage of housing and the best way to add units is by developing higher density housing. Expedited zoning is a great incentive.

What are your top three priorities for the Municipality of Anchorage?
Restore tax cap, institute fiscal responsibility, and encourage growth and development.

What are your recommendations with Alaska's fiscal challenges of growing Anchorage's economy?
After addressing ways to streamline efficiencies, provide tax incentives that encourage growth. Grow tax base not tax rate.

What are your recommendations on handling commercial marijuana businesses in Anchorage?
Because the law specifically allows local government regulation of the use of marijuana, we should involve the various communities in Anchorage to decide how it will be regulated in their area.

Which if any of the Municipal Bonds on the ballot do you support?
At this time of fiscal uncertainty, I do not support any of the bonds on the ballet.

How do you propose making Anchorage a safe place to live; including affordable housing, a living wage, and great schools?
Rebuild the Police. Focus on early causes of crime. Streamline Public Works. Continue review of T21. Let the market determine entry level wages to create opportunities to grow into a 'living wage.' Create opportunities with a great school system.

Do you support a year-round or seasonal sales tax even if it doesn't reduce property taxes?
No.

Why or why not?
There’s broad support for decreasing the size of local government. There is frustration with the level of property taxes. People like the Tax Cap. The recession will increase the relative burden of property taxes. We need to be very frugal.


With the increases currently proposed that impact property tax owners, what are your plans to reduce the property tax burden on Anchorage business?
I'm not sure what this refers to. The current budget is $2 million less than the previous. The bonds are less than our payoffs. I support both of these.

Do you support expedited zoning for generous use of high density and mixed use around town centers, employment centers, and downtown as outlined in the Anchorage Bowl Land Use Plan Map?
Yes. I have been supporting and working on T21 to encourage this for many years. This is sound and frugal city development that is already happening.

What are your top three priorities for the Municipality of Anchorage?
1) Rebuild the police force.
2) Continue to review Title 21 and streamline development.
3) Complete several South Anchorage projects that are ongoing.

What are your recommendations with Alaska's fiscal challenges of growing Anchorage's economy?
Encourage sectors that aren't struggling with the price of oil: Tourism, Native Corps, (i.e. CIRI's expansion of the windmill farm), Providence growth ... No 'solution' will be easy or prevent pain.

What are your recommendations on handling commercial marijuana businesses in Anchorage?
Citizens voted and we should respect that outcome. Regulate Marijuana like alcohol. And keep your fingers crossed.

Which if any of the Municipal Bonds on the ballot do you support?
All. The Road and Drainage bond includes Spenard Road. That is more than just a better road, it will spur economic development in the area like the similar project did at the South end decades ago.

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