Letter to the editor: In support of sales tax
I'm addressing comments in E.W. Stalnaker's March 16, 2005, letter to the editor regarding the countywide 1 percent sales tax. There is a growing countywide support to replace the current 1 percent sales tax.
The existing tax expires in 2006, the replacement will not be an additional tax. Changes in consumer prices will be based on economic factors of production costs, supply and demand, competition, not the sales tax.
The sales tax is far more equitable for middle to lower income citizens than property taxes. Higher income citizens tend to purchase the big ticket items and more of them and therefore pay more tax than those with lower incomes.
Continuing the 1 percent sales tax is vital to economic development and keeping property taxes down. An important focus of countywide projects to be funded by the one-cent sales tax is to help enhance economic development. Economic development in Leavenworth County is necessary to provide the tax base to pay for the many needs of the county. The federal government has mandated that communication systems for local emergency responders be enhanced to provide seamless communication between local, state and federal emergency agencies nationwide. The cost to Leavenworth County and its cities for the communication system will exceed $400,000 annually. The cost for upgrading the road system is enormous. Neither property taxes nor the sales tax alone can meet the many needs of the county and its cities
About 32 percent of the county's property value is exempt from property tax. The effect on property taxes without the sales tax is significant. In the first year, the city of Leavenworth will generate a projected $2,598,230 (equals 15.21 mills) from a continuation of the 1 percent sales tax. A $100,000 home would require an additional property tax of $246.11 ($71.19 for county plus $174.92 for city). A $100,000 business without sales tax revenue would require an additional property tax of $535 ($154.75 for county plus $380.25 for city).
Before you vote, take a quick look at the improvements that have been made the last 10 years. Vote Yes.