Mayors Expect More Tax Hikes If Sales Tax Raise Is Approved
Local leaders are worried that a possible sales tax increase could force them to raise property taxes as well. In March, some Gibson County voters will decide if they want to raise the county local sales tax to 2.75 percent. The problem is the local sales tax rate for most of the larger Gibson County cities is already 2.75 percent, which means those cities will ultimately lose sales tax revenue if the measure passes. Mayors in bigger cities like Milan and Trenton are upset because their residents do not get to vote on the tax increase in the March election, but could bear the brunt of decisions made by voters in smaller towns such as Bradford, Dyer, Yorkville, Gibson, and Rutherford. Trenton Mayor Tony Burriss is worried that the increase could be approved by voters. “The people of Trenton are going to possibly receive this property tax hike without even having a chance to be involved in this vote,” Burriss said. If passed, the cities that already have a 2.75 percent local sales tax – such as Trenton, Milan, Humboldt, Medina, and Kenton – would lose money from their city budgets because some of the funds would instead go toward school districts. “County-wide tax rates, sales tax rates cancel out a city local option sales tax rate,” said Terry Cunningham, Gibson County Special School District’s Director of Finance and Operations. “It’s going to cause us to have to raise property taxes here, or it’s going to cause us to lay-off maybe six to eight employees or a combination of both,” Burriss said. Milan Mayor Chris Crider told 7 Eyewitness News his city would have to raise property taxes too. Trenton would lose about $114,000 a year, but its school district would gain $144,000. Milan would lose about $340,000, Humboldt $275,000, and Medina $9,000 a year. Cunningham said the school districts need the money for things such as new school buses and technology. “We’re losing some federal grant programs that were put in by the Obama administration, they come to an end this year, so we have a gap there in funding that we have to close,” he said. Cunningham said residents who live outside of the bigger cities spend most of their money there. “Our students, parents and grandparents that attend our school districts, like Gibson County School District, and Bradford that are shopping there, but the half of that half percent sales tax is not coming back for the education purposes as the law was established,” Cunningham said. If passed, the sales tax hike would go into effect July 1.