Sales Tax Message #7 from Jerry Williams

Friends, Colleagues and Fellow Citizens:

What am I hearing after over 70 presentations that Common Cents has done?  There continues to be increasing support for renewing the ½ cent local sales tax.  The audiences have been great, very responsive to our message and excited about the community continuing to move forward.  It really is looking to our future, and I’m proud of that message, a legacy for our growing and maturing community.

Don’t forget:  If you want your name and/or business listed in our early November endorsement advertisement in the Post Bulletin, please let me know by this Thursday.  A lot of people have stepped up.  Thank you for supporting us.

Fact check:  You all may have read the “Both Sides” commentaries in the Saturday Post Bulletin.  Well, it’s time to separate fact from the fiction found in the opposition’s statement.  There is absolutely no truth, none, that renewing the sales tax will cost $200 million and take twenty years to pay for.  Let’s do the math: the City collects between $9.5 and $10 million per year in sales tax revenue.  The total principle being voted on is $139.5 million.  Taking the lower amount, $9.5 million, and dividing that into the principle equals 14.7 years.  That’s using the conservative figure and assuming there will be no increase in population or the economy over that period of time.  I think most people will clearly see that as those later two conditions increase, the 14.7 years will decrease because the annual revenue will increase.  Also remember that visitors will pay up to 50% of the revenue.

Fact check:  The implication that the City will bond the entire principle, or as referenced in their commentary, $130 million, is also totally false.  The City never has bonded for the entire amount in the past and there is no reason to do so now.  Their statement is just not true.

The ballot:  The question on renewing the sales tax is on the back of the ballot under the heading, “City Questions.”  On the sample ballot I saw, it was on the left-hand side.

Renewing the ½ cent local sales tax:
·         Is not a new tax.
·         Supports a vision for the city’s future.
·         Minimizes property tax increases.
·         Contains projects selected by a citizens committee.
·         Encourages continued economic growth and jobs.
·         Does not include any additional work to the Mayo Civic Center.
·         Keeps the revenue here rather than sending it to St. Paul or Washington, DC.
·         Is up to 50% paid for by visitors.
·         Is only 5¢ on a $10 bill, unless the $10 is spent on food, clothing or prescription drugs and then, like the state’s, there is no tax.
·         Go to www.commoncentsrochestermn.com for more information.

There will be one more message prior to the election.  Thank you to many, many of you who have contacted me, expressed your appreciation for these messages and have asked questions.  Have a great week.

It’s Common Cents! Vote Yes!!

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