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Council Members Weigh In on One Cent Sales Tax - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Council Members Weigh In on One Cent Sales Tax

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Do you support the one cent sales tax?

"As long as it's spent in the correct places and not misused," said Leslie Honodel.

"I don't mind paying the extra tax to get the city growing where it should be," said James Johnson.

"If it means keeping there jobs, the city workers, policemen and firemen getting a pay raise then I'm all for leaving the penny there," said Janet Nichols.

A revamped budget shows city workers aren't getting a pay raise, but there will be no layoffs either. The penny sales tax was implemented under the former Mayor, Sam Jones who said without it, city jobs would've been lost and services like trash pick up cut. But if it were up to city councilman John Williams, the one cent sales tax would have never been a solution.

"I believe the one cent sales tax was unduly put into law. I believe also that the harm is done. Let's draw business back to Mobile. Let's copy one retailers and Wal-Mart and lower our prices and show that we are open for business and we are not only open for business, but we are open at a lower price than we were yesterday," said Williams.

Councilman Fred Richardson sees it a different way.

"We were at 9 cents when everybody else was at 10 and a half. We didn't see that ground swell of people rushing from Daphne and Baldwin County, rushing from Mississippi, to shop with us because we had a cheaper sales tax. It didn't happen. That's a theory," said Richardson.

Because the tax has been implemented for a full fiscal year, it will bring in 30 million dollars to the current budget. That's 15 million more than last year.

"With the infusion of 30 million dollars, we are already in a deficit according to the mayor. We are running a deficit, and somebody wanna cut the funding off? I don't advocate that. Yes we could survive. We could start laying people off. Cut back on services," said Richardson.

"Just because we lose a penny of sales tax that doesn't equate to a person. I believe we need to do the right thing. We need to provide excellent service and we need to determine what that cost is," said Williams.

The one cent sales tax is money used for capitol, economic development and public safety. As for the new budget that was presented Thursday, council members will review it, then have a meeting next Tuesday with the finance committee to clear up questions. Mayor Stimpson was unavailable to give his opinion on the tax today because he's out of town.
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