City Sales Tax Hike Debate Continues

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT) – Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle made his case to city council members Thursday evening a week before they are set to vote on the ordinance that calls for a one-cent sales tax hike city-wide.

“Our infrastructure is essential to our quality of life, and that means keeping that average 18-minute commute time to and from work,” said Mayor Battle. “Huntsville is a regional employment center, and each of these road projects improves our ability to move traffic in congested areas.”

Battle said the additional one percent tax is projected to generate approximately $30 to $35 million per year and will allow the City to match the State’s $125 million funding requirement and commit any remaining funds to new road projects and capital/economic development projects.

“No one wants to raise taxes, but these roads are not wants. They are essential needs,” said Mayor Battle. “The sales tax allows us to proceed with a “pay as you go” approach and does not impose debt on future generations.”

Thursday evening several city council members signaled they would like a sunset clause added to the ordinance, so after five years they could revisit the tax hike and vote on the ordinance again giving residents another time to voice their opinions.

The city of Madison passed a half-cent sales tax hike earlier this year, giving it an overall rate of 9.5 percent for portions in Limestone County and 9 percent in Madison County. The rate in unincorporated parts of Madison County is 5.5 percent.

City officials say if passed the tax would not take effect until March 1, 2014.

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