Proposed Sales Tax Increase

By: Rebekah Baum
By: Rebekah Baum

We talked with about 15 people visiting the post office on Harrison and of the 15, only one person was in favor of the proposed one percent sales tax increase.

"I think if we want to move forward we have to increase the taxes to help bring back downtown," says Richard Fisher.

Everyone else we talked to said they'll be voting no on March 21.

"The property taxes they're supposed to reduce is a very small portion and from I've read in the paper, it will cost me more per year than what I'll get out of it," says Wilbern Grayum.

"I'm opposed to it. I think all of us have to live within our means, and I think the government should do the same thing," says Robert Brynolf.

"Every time you talk about tax increases, I just don't go for it," says Gino Reali.

Rockford college professor of economics Robert Von der Ohe, says we won't see a reduction in property taxes...but the tax rate.

"People's houses appreciate in value, which could drive up your property taxes even if the tax rate were to fall. So what they're talking about it over 10 years there would be some reduction in the tax rate," says Von der Ohe.

If, Von der Ohe says, the city doesn't find other ways to spend all the additional money being raised. Van der Ohe says supporters are doing a good job explaining the issue but he doesn't think people are listening so what happens if the tax increase doesn't pass?

"It has an immediate negative impact, not necessarily just on the administration it simply means there's no real significant money for road construction during the next fiscal year, because they didn't put any money in the budget," says Von der Ohe.

Van der Ohe says another strike against the proposal is the fact that a sales tax is a regressive tax meaning it falls more heavily on people with lower incomes and even though supporters say an increase will cause non-residents to help carry the burden. Van der Ohe says that's not a strong enough selling point.


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