A proposed tax increase in order to lower another tax. Lubbock Mayor Marc McDougal proposes raising the sales tax to offset high property taxes. If approved, the Mayor's plan would increase the sales tax by 3/8's of a cent. In turn, helping to decrease property taxes by about 15%.
This proposal comes just a couple of months after some Lubbock property owners were shocked by huge increases in their valuations. The proposal is drawing praise from some, but others aren't as easily convinced.
McDougal says lowering property taxes by raising the sales tax spreads the burden out, taking the focus away from homeowners. "It gives homeowners a welcomed relief from taxes, and a fairly sizable relief."
The Mayor's sales tax proposal calls for a 3/8 cent sales tax increase. That means, for every $8 dollars you spend shopping, you'll pay an extra 3 cents on that purchase. Most of that money will go to offset high property taxes. For example, on an $85,000 dollar home, your taxes would decrease by $73.44/year.
The sales tax would also be used to spur economic development by funding Market Lubbock Inc. "I don't see a lot of downside," says Mayor Marc McDougal.
But some consumers do. Diane Windham of Post doesn't like the idea. "Being from out of town, I don't like the idea, but I can see how Lubbock residents might. But they're just going to be paying it another way by what they consume."
Windham also doesn't believe in a tax supporting a program like Market Lubbock. "...lower taxes for businesses, that's how you develop economically."
Lubbock resident Charla Allen says increasing the sales tax is a quick fix. She believes our elected officials should find better solutions, like spending cuts.
On the flip side, Lubbock homeowner Charlie Woodfin welcomes this solution. "Sales taxes are fairer. That would decrease the burden landowners carry."
For now, the measure seems to be gaining support among city council members, but voters will have the final say. And in 1998 voters defeated a similar proposal. The mayor will try to get the councils approval August 5th. If that happens, he'll call for a November election.