Letter to the editor: Council should bring tax issue to vote, not decide itI am writing in regard to the proposed use of economic development sales tax for infrastructure needs. I would like to express my concern with the recommendation prior to the Public Works Committee making a recommendation on the matter at its Aug. 27 meeting at City Hall.
By: Leslie J. Horgan, The Jamestown Sun
I am writing in regard to the proposed use of economic development sales tax for infrastructure needs. I would like to express my concern with the recommendation prior to the Public Works Committee making a recommendation on the matter at its Aug. 27 meeting at City Hall.
Let me start by stating that I oppose the use of the present sales tax for infrastructure improvements. In fact, I oppose the use of sales tax for infrastructure needs. However, I am not writing today to discuss the pros and cons of sales tax for any needs, rather I am writing because an attempt is being perpetrated to circumvent the previous will of the people in the form of an “informal” petition. This petition is just cover for some members of the present City Council to act as they have already concluded without ever having any public discussion of the pros and cons of such an action (stealing from Peter to pay Paul) or discussing the positive and/or negative impacts of such an action (What will be the ramifications to economic development?).
I believe the council should bring this matter to the voters since the voters gave them the use of the sales tax (for the sole purpose of economic development). I believe this, even if a majority of the public may (or may not) be represented by the petition “requesting the City Council take whatever action is necessary to utilize … sales tax for infrastructure …” and even if the majority of the council has concluded the same.
On March 22, 2005, the Finance and Legal Committee unanimously recommended putting the city’s sales tax for economic development to a special election vote. The City Council approved the recommendation April 4, 2005. The Jamestown Sun reported the following on March 23, 2005: Councilman John Grabinger said he has received several phone calls from people who wanted the 1 percent sales tax used for economic development put on the ballot. The Sun also reported: Eliminating the tax would be a serious mistake, Grabinger said. Grabinger is one of the leaders of a group circulating the present proposed petition to “eliminate” half of the present tax.
On June 14, 2005, I voted yes to renew the city’s 1-cent sales tax for economic development. I expect the council to allow the public to express its sentiments in a formal election on the matter because unilaterally eliminating half the tax would be a serious mistake.
Leslie J. Horgan