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Your Opinion: Fire department sales tax opposed

Your Opinion: Fire department sales tax opposed

July 18th, 2012 by Tim Stallman, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

This is getting to be an expensive city to live in, tax wise and otherwise. Think about how many tax increases and utility increases there have been in the last five years. The City Council never met a tax increase they didn't like. It's time for taxpayers to say "stop."

Now the City Council is asking taxpayers to approve another one-fourth percent sales tax increase. They are ignoring the message taxpayers sent to them last February.

Rather than serving taxpayers, they are serving a city government whose appetite for tax money grows every year. Belt tightening never occurred to them. Sales taxes are a burden on the working and middle classes. The public should not be asked to pay more sales taxes at this difficult time. Taxpayers can force belt tightening on city government by voting "no" Aug. 7.

If this tax increase passes, the City Council will reap a huge $1 million per year windfall of extra tax revenue (general revenue offset by new Proposition 2 sales tax revenue) to spend on any of the projects on the Transformation tax wish list or other wish lists, without voter approval.

I understand the need for better and up-to-date equipment for our firefighters and the need for additional training and I fully support that.

There is money available right now in the city budget to take care of that need. On the night they sent the tax measure to the voters, one city councilman even said so, and offered to sponsor a budget them item for that. Two councilmen even voted against sending this to the voters, which should serve as a red flag.

If Prop. 2 passes, the fire department will have more money than they know what to do with, which is always a bad thing for government agencies. We do not need gold-plated fire stations and gold-plated pension plans.

Furthermore, the City Council could stop giving $200,000 per year to the Chamber of Commerce and use that money for fire department needs. Over 15 years that would amount to $3 million and would pay for one new fire station.

Even more taxes are on the way with a property tax increase for a new high school and the library tax. Most taxpayers don't know about the library tax on the August ballot. It just won't end.

Vote no on Prop. 2.