Monday, August 20, 2007
Top Ten Reasons for Not Supporting the Sales TAx
Top Ten Reasons
For Not Supporting the Proposed Sales Tax Increase
10. This proposal places small business owners in a no-win situation. In order to show support for SIU-- which many want to do--, the small business owners stand to lose some business. How much they will lose remains to be seen. One very prominent, local business owner who is a consistent supporter of SIUC and the community told me that he probably would support the proposal, but his business would take a “hit.” Already, a few residents have told me that they plan to buy out-of-town as a protest if this proposal is adopted by the Council.
8. The long-term impact of this proposal burdens and constrains future Councils; and, as a result, threatens future operations and services.
2. This proposal ignores the $40,826,276 of unmet needs documented in the FY ‘08 Community Investment Program (CIP). There are no stated provisions or priorities in the proposal for these unmet needs. Who should be taken care of first, the citizens of Carbondale or SIU. I have always heard that charity begins at home.
AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON FOR NOT SUPPORTING THIS PROPOSAL IS:
1. This proposal bypasses the will of the people. The magnitude and length of this unprecedented commitment to spend $1 million a year for 20 years for non-city purposes needs broad support from the tax-paying citizens of this Community. For as few as four people to push the proposal through at this time would be an unwise and irresponsible use of power. Why an unwise use of power? Exhibit #4 in the proposal provides a partial answer. This exhibit lists the sales tax rates for 27 communities in Illinois and 10 local communities in southern Illinois.
I did some research on the reasons for recent increases and the decision-making process followed in other local communities listed in Exhibit #4 of the proposal. My focus was on cities with sales tax rates of 7.75% or higher.
DuQuoin is the first of those examples. It has the highest sales tax rate of the local communities listed. This city recently increased its sales tax rate by 1/2 percent, but the increase was voted upon by the citizens in a referendum, and the increase was used as matching funds to build a new high school. The community, not the council decided on the increase. (Source of Information: Telephone conversation with Bonnie Alvis, Executive Director, DuQuoin Chamber of Commerce, August 13, 2007)
Mt. Vernon and Jefferson County is another example. This is the second highest of local communities listed in Exhibit # 4 of the proposal. The City had only a 1% home rule sales tax as part of an existing 7 1/4% sales tax, but the county recently asked for an additional 1/2 percent for safety expenditures and debt payment in a successful countywide referendum. Again, the community decided, not the city council or the county board. (Source of Information: Telephone conversation with Mary Bechtel, Director of Economic Development, Jefferson County, August 13, 2007)
DuQuoin and Mt. Vernon/Jefferson County are not the only ones to establish precedents by using public referendums for large projects. The Carbondale School District used a public referendum in 1999 to fund the new high school. This is the same project for which the city contributes $800,000 a year. Why does the Carbondale City Council not want to follow these examples? Are we to be less democratic than our neighbors?
The scope of Carbondale’s proposal is beyond anything that voters entrusted to Council members. Why didn’t those proposing and supporting this proposal mention it to the voters in the last election. Proposals of this type do not come out of thin air. It takes time to formulate such ideas and to coordinate with key individuals at the university.
SIU needs to demonstrate that it has the capacity to raise $20 million that would match the proposed offer by the city. Why should the taxpayers of Carbondale be the major financial supporters of a State-supported institution?
SIU is important to this community and it deserves our support, but a financial issue of this magnitude and length of commitment must be carefully considered and must have broad support from the citizens of Carbondale.
I have heard that politics is the art of compromise. It is the extreme of my-way or no- way that bothers me whether it is at the local level, the state level, or the national level. The Governor’s stance on the State budget is a good example. I hope that this Council will do the rational and responsible thing by not voting for the proposal as presented.
I would urge you do one of two things: (1) authorize a public referendum on the current proposal, or (2) reduce the proposed increase to 1/4 percent, set up specific priorities with community input and discussion, stop deficit spending and unwarranted proposals, and lower the SIU commitment to a more modest amount.
That's really the reason, right?
Big ideas are rarely understood by small minds.
This tax will be paid by those who enjoy the benefits of Carbondale and SIUC -- not purely by those who live there. It takes some of the student burden away for the funding of Saluki Way. It will bring more green space and bike trails to the city. More police. A better firestation. Extends a finacial hand to the a**backwards park district. It will fund a statium that is enjoyed by students, residents and visitors.
And it will be done with pennies that for most people go un-noticed.
Time to think about what you're really opposing, Mr. Brown and company.
Seems to me its more likely that you just like the proposal because Brad Cole came up with it. My logic? You only wrote one paragraph, so if Brown is guilty of it then you must be much more guilty.
Had the City Council not repealed the Property Tax we would have the money for the Police Station, Fire Station, and Bikeways without having to raise sales taxes. Those are the kinds of things that should be paid for by property taxes.
Well, those renters pay their rent to someone, don't they? Landlords own those properties, and they are the ones who benefited most when the City Council chose to repeal the property tax. Did rents go down after the property tax was repealed? No, landlord profits went up.
It was a bad idea then, and as we are seeing, it is having very real (and negative) implications for how we bring in money for important infrastructure and service needs in this city.
No, that kind of thinking is short sighted and lacking in any critical thought.
Just because SIU wants something, doesn't mean that it is good for the community and vice versa.
I don't just take the University's word on what is 'good' for them, and what the community should do for them. No one should.
More cooperation between the University and Carbondale is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned. But that doesn't mean we should do what the University wants on their terms.
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