City of Palmer sees sales tax benefit from Alaska State Fair

Because the fairgrounds sit within city limits vendors are subject to the 3% tax
Because the fairgrounds sit within city limits vendors are subject to the 3% tax
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 7:37 PM AKDT
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - As the snow begins to creep down the mountains, the Alaska State Fair enters its final weekend.

The fair puts the small town of Palmer in the spotlight during its now three-week run, but does the town itself benefit from the festivities? The short answer is yes.

“We actually see an increase in sales tax,” Palmer Mayor Steve Carrington said. “About two-thirds of Palmer’s finances comes from sales tax, and so we see a bump when the fair is going of probably up to 25%.”

But the local economic impacts on the businesses of Palmer ebbs and flows, depending on which days the fair is running. The fair pivoted to a three-week format last year, giving vendors Tuesdays and Wednesdays off. Executive Director of the Greater Palmer Chamber of Commerce Ailis Vann said she sees an uptick in town traffic when the fair is shut down.

“Tuesday and Wednesday — I don’t think — are shop’s busiest days of the week,” Vann said. “So with the fair being closed, and the extra vendors, visitors, all those people in town for the fair — maybe you’re going to come to Palmer on those days off and spend your money in Palmer.”

Once carnival rides come to a stop and vendors board their booths back up, the town will return to business as usual with the city receiving an extra boost from the sales tax revenue.

“The money that the city earns goes into infrastructure and everything that makes Palmer better,” Vann said. “That just helps us sell Palmer as a great place to come.”