Sales tax isn't a popular idea

By Staff
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
Legalized alcohol sales? No.
Property tax increase? Maybe.
Increasing sales tax? Not if they can help it.
That's the sentiment of some members of the Hartselle City Council, who said generating more money from property taxes is a favorable alternative to increasing sales taxes.
"We would run everybody out of town if we raise the sales tax," Councilman Alvin Abercrombie, who owns Abercrombie Chevrolet, said. "What we need are more businesses in our town so that we can collect more sales tax."
Hartselle's sales tax is currently 8 percent. Decatur's is 9 percent and Hartselle officials have said they feel the city needs that penny advantage when competing with the larger municipality.
"If we increase sales tax in Hartselle it could hurt us in competing with Decatur," Mayor Clif Knight said.
Sales tax is also more volatile, with greater fluctuation depending on the economy. Property tax, Knight said, is a more stable revenue source.
"Property is going to increase in value even if the economy drops," he said.
Hartselle's officials are seeking a 10 mill property tax increase with 3 of the new mills going to the school system and 7 going to the city's general fund.
That's a fairer way of sharing the tax burden, according to Councilman Frank Joshes.
" Sales tax increase impacts everyone in this town," Jones said. "Ad valorum tax only effects the people who use the services."

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