Monday, March 30, 2009

legislators and labor back sales tax

Legislators and labor back sales tax

All five state legislators who live in Johnson County personally endorsed the local option sales tax Saturday at the League of Women Voters forum.

"This has been a difficult tax to pass in Johnson County, with the concerns about regressivity," said Senator Joe Bolkcom. "But the flooding was terribly disruptive and this is our opportunity to help ourselves. I am supporting the tax." Bolkcom said he's already voted early for the May 5 election.

Senator Bob Dvorsky also plugges early voting ans said, "It's critical to get this passed. If the floods come again in Coralville, you can turn out the lights, frankly."

"This is a special instance," said Rep. Vicki Lensing. The money from the sales tax would help the people who lost their businesses and homes. A lot of people who might not be in favor would be more inclined to support if they knew the specific use."

"This is really and truly salvation for our community. I'm very supportive of this," said Rep. Mary Mascher. "If we aren't willing to do our part it'll be harder for the state to be supportive." Proponents say funds from the tax could be used to leverage additional dollars.

Rep. Dave Jacoby also offered his support.

"I normally am opposed to sales taxes, but this special instance is so important that it's the right thing to do," said Pat Hughes, president of the Iowa City Federation of Labor, noting that both labor and the Chamber of Commerce have endorsed the sales tax. "It would improve the quality of life for the people I represent both upstream and downstream."

So far, the main opponents in the "Ax The Tax" group are the same people who made up the "Flip No" group that opposed last fall's conservation bond. The website still pops up in a frameset that says The Johnson County Republicans have also endorsed a no vote.

The Johnson County Democrats have not taken a formal stand. Party rules require a two meeting process or a special convention before an endorsement could happen. "I hope our local Democratic party will hold a special meeting to endorse this," said Mascher.

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