Sales Tax Increase Gaining Support - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/28/03

Sales Tax Increase Gaining Support

Mayor Marc McDougal's proposal to raise the sales tax in Lubbock in order to lower property taxes is gaining support from city leaders. At the same time, a local watchdog group is leaning toward supporting the idea while citizens remain skeptical.

If you've opened the newspaper any day in the last week you've probably seen a number of letters to the editor opposing this proposal. But City Councilman Tom Martin says he wouldn't be supporting the increase if it wasn't linked to the property tax reduction.

"I think the proposal on the sales tax is an excellent proposal. First and foremost it cuts the property tax burden from homeowners in this area to the tune of about 8.6 cents per $100 evaluation. That combined with the approximately 1.3 or 1.4 cents that we are going to cut the tax rate this year to offset higher appraisals means a 10 cent decrease by the property tax rate by this time next year," Tom Martin said.

Martin says on top of the substantial cut for homeowners this proposal would also put money back into our economic development. Which too would benefit the masses.

"We have to do all that we can to get more business and more jobs in Lubbock, Texas. We've been very successful as a city and we've weathered the downturn of the economy fairly well, certainly better than most major cities in the state of Texas," said Martin.

Spartan Chairwoman Mikel Ward, whose known for opposing tax increases, says this is the first proposal that's worth citizens consideration in years. "Over the last 11, 12 years we have fought successfully against all of the sales tax increases and this time at least we'll be getting a locked in 15% property tax reduction that really will be dedicated to that no matter what."

However, Ward disagrees with the money going into market Lubbock. "This open ended economic development always has pit falls, and the more money they get the more carelessly they get with handing it out. People will just have to decide if the amount they are likely to save in property taxes is enough to offset what they will spend," says Ward.

Ward is not endorsing the sales tax increase yet, but says with some tweaking, this proposal could work. Taxes have gone up and up and this would be a way to lower our property taxes between 15% and 16% and get it back to 47 cents instead of 57", Ward said.

In the end the decision will be up to the taxpayers, possibly in a November election.

NewsChannel 11 talked to five if the six City Council members, all of whom are in support of the sales tax increase, we were unable to get in touch with Councilman Victor Hernandez.

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