Increasing Rockford’s sales tax by one percent would bring the total rate up to eight and a quarter percent. That could generate an extra 16 million dollars for city road projects. But many business owners think the hike will drive away buyers and sellers.
"People will make a buying decision and those tax dollars will leave. Those people will have to locate outside our county," says Tim Emert.
He organized a new group responsible for commercials against the sales tax increase. They're called Winnebago County Taxpayers Advocates or WCTA. They want city council to find alternative sources of funding for road repairs.
A one percent interest may not make a big difference in our every day shopping trips. But the numbers quickly add up for companies such as Gypsum Supply.
"We will have customers who are buying from us every day...they could spend $200,000 a year, $500,000 a year, $1 million a year, whatever. That one percent comes right off their profits," says Chuck Allton, Rockford manager of Gypsum supply.
It would be difficult for Gypsum to compete with other suppliers in nearby communities if the hike is approved.
Allton wonders, "Why would they not want to maximize profits by buying from a supplier that's in an area that isn't taxing as heavy?"
The decision will be in our hands on March 21.