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Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
  • Sales tax, surveys and open government

  • I was just a little surprised at the results of our informal poll about whether people would support a small sales tax increase to pay for street repair. Our survey was very informal and far from scientific, but it may show that people of Wellington are basically willing to pay for something if there is something of value to be gained.
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  • I was just a little surprised at the results of our informal poll about whether people would support a small sales tax increase to pay for street repair. Our survey was very informal and far from scientific, but it may show that people of Wellington are basically willing to pay for something if there is something of value to be gained.
    The only reservation people had was that they want to be sure the money will go to street repair, and not to some other needed item. The law states that a referendum must clearly state what the money will be used for and when the tax will end. It is important then, to read the wording of the referendum question carefully.
    These taxes do expire though, and a small sales tax seems fair especially when it involves streets.
    People from out of town, who drive on the streets, will buy stuff like gas or food as they pass through, and pay a small part of the cost through sales tax. That is better than taxing only residents, who will also be paying the sales tax.
    It’s not a done deal. The city has not yet made a formal proposal, or constructed a referendum question. They seem to be headed in that direction but the fat lady hasn’t started singing yet.
    There is a lot of anti-tax sentiment, and anti-government sentiment out there. Many of the anti-tax people have their own agenda and will be against anything that looks like progress.
    The bottom line is, if you want a service, you have to pay for it through taxes. No one likes paying taxes, but many of us like driving on streets that don’t damage your vehicle.
    There is another sales tax proposal coming down the road too, which will be one to support the hospital. There is currently a half-cent sales tax for the hospital that expires at the end of the year. The vote would be to keep it, so there would not be an increase there.
    Again, it goes back to whether you want a service. It is hard for rural hospitals to make it, so they need some extra funding. The question is whether you want to keep a rural hospital open in Wellington.
    While I do pretty much support progress, even if it cost me a little, there is also an important role government has to play in all this.
    Those who want the tax, whether for streets or hospitals, need to be as transparent as possible, and completely open about everything that goes on.
    Government officials, and hospital officials, need to open their books and let the public have a look, to show what the needs really are and where the money goes. I have no reason to doubt anyone, but transparency removes doubt and takes the wind out of the sails of the nay-sayers.
    Page 2 of 2 - If they do that, we will probably endorse both issues if and when they show up on the ballot.
     
     
    James Jordan is editor at the Wellington News. He can be reached at www.wellingtondailynews.com

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