Excise Tax Will Be Part Of Budget, Augusta Commissioner Says - WNCT

Excise Tax Will Be Part Of Budget, Augusta Commissioner Says

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A compromise to balance the city of Augusta's budget is gaining support.

Augusta Commissioners will meet Tuesday at the special time of 1:00 p.m. to vote on a plan to balance next year's budget.

The latest proposal calls for taking $4 million out of reserves as well as a two percent excise tax on manufacturers, which would make up for money lost because they do not pay sales tax.

But, what's not in the proposal, is any increase in property taxes.

"I just believe we can do without it, at this point. It gives up the opportunity, we really don't have to do anything until July, so this gives us an opportunity not to raise taxes at this point. And, if we see if we get to the point of June or July in the summer, if we need to then we'll think about doing it at that point. Right now, I don't see that as a viable option," says Commissioner Alvin Mason.

Earlier this month, there was not support for a two percent excise tax on industry. Under state law, industry doesn't pay sales taxes on the energy they buy.

The excise tax would bring in $1.5 million, but Mason feels the tide has turned on that proposal. "Excise tax will happen," he says.

The proposal also calls for all city employees to get a $500 pay raise, instead of the proposed $1,500 increase. All city departments would also be expected to cut their budgets by 2.4 %.

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