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Your Opinion: Fire department sales tax opposed

Your Opinion: Fire department sales tax opposed

August 1st, 2012 by Mark Rodabaugh, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

There are few taxes that have a logical basis, most are just for general revenue purposes. One of the few logical ones is property taxes that support the fire department.

After all, what is the primary purpose of the fire department? To put out fires on property. Yes, they do lots of other EMT work that the police and the ambulance districts also do, but take away our property and is there a need for a fire department? So what's the logic of Proposition 2? None, except pass the real cost of owning property to others and increasing taxes.

Increasing taxes? I noticed the glossy mailed ad by the Citizens for a Safer Community supporting Proposition 2 carefully omitted showing the total sales tax generated versus the total property tax reduced.

Was this an accidental oversight or intentional cover-up? As I understand the new sales tax is estimated to generate about $2.6 million, the property taxes reduced are estimated at $800,000; for a net of $1.8 million increase in taxes collected. Has anyone mentioned this vote is another tax increase?

The ad showed the added cost of $4 household cost of Prop. 2 per year if you owned a home; about seven times that amount if you didn't. How many hundreds or thousands of dollars will large property owners save at the expense of financially struggling families? Food and drugs are not exempted in this new proposed sales tax. So if you ever eat food or ever get sick you will help property owners save on taxes. Is this not pushing insanity?

With Prop. 2 passage the combined sales tax rate for Jefferson City will be 7.975 percent. Don't forget that state legislators were trying to push a state sales tax to replace Missouri's income taxes last session. Is there any upper limit where this stops? Ten percent, 20 percent, 30 percent? What is the upper limit?

Vote no on Prop. 2. Keep the fire department funded by those who benefit most from their services, property owners. Assuming there is a real need for an additional $1.8 million by the fire department then it should be funded through property taxes, not this sleight-of-hand procedure to sales taxes. Proposition 2 is a tax increase. Proposition 2 is transferring property tax responsibility to others. Proposition 2 is just plain chicanery.

On Aug. 7 vote no on Proposition 2.