Advocates finalizing plan to use Anchorage marijuana tax revenue on child care

two kids color at a table
Credit Union 1 child care center employee Rebecka Tamanaha works with two toddlers. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

A task force in Anchorage is finalizing how the city will use money from marijuana taxes for child care and early education. Voters approved a ballot initiative last year dedicating 100% of those funds to go towards bolstering the city’s struggling child care market.

Trevor Storrs is president of the Alaska Children’s Trust, a nonprofit focused on preventing child abuse and neglect. He’s part of the team working to establish how the city will spend the roughly $5 million it gets each year in marijuana taxes. 

“We’ve been taking this time to really be intentional of how to best use those dollars,” Storrs said. “As I’ve shared, it’s not a drop in the bucket, but it doesn’t fill the bucket. It’s a nice pour.”

The funding will be managed by an accountability board, with members named by the mayor. Storrs said his team is working on drafting the responsibilities and duties of the board, and aims to have a proposal before the Assembly by April. Ideally, the members of the board would be named after the mayoral election in July.

Storrs said his team hasn’t nailed down specifics on how the money will be spent, but he said it would likely go toward grants or subsidies for parents looking to find child care. He also hopes to help child care businesses bolster salaries and build their workforce. 

“This isn’t like when you were 12, and just taking care of the neighbor’s kid for a couple hours,” Storrs said. “High quality childcare or early childhood education is a lot of work. And these are professionals and we need to raise their salaries to be as such.”

Storrs said if the board is assembled quickly enough, he anticipates that some of the funding could be distributed as early as the fall. He said by January of next year, the funding should be “full steam ahead.”

He said his team is still soliciting feedback from the community, and people who’d like to weigh in on the use of marijuana taxes for child care and early education can reach out at the Care For Kids Anchorage website.

Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

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