Citizens Want Greater Influence Over Huntsville Sales Tax Decision

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In Huntsville, the city council gets set to vote on a one-cent increase to the sales tax to match state funds for road projects.

But critics question the process for approving the tax.

Mayor Tommy Battle says, “It’s on of those cases where the easiest thing would be to sit back and say this is a state problem.  Unfortunately a state problem becomes our problem.  We’re going to move forward and make sure we solve our problems.”

City leaders plan to do that with a one-cent sales tax for Huntsville, but the tax as introduced at city council covers more than just the project cost and goes on indefinitely, frustrating some.

Huntsville Citizen Gary Brashers notes, “The whole point of the tax is for the roads, but he’s also generating twenty-to-thirty-percent additional funds to go to other projects.  but we’re not told what those projects are.”

Critics like Gary Brashers say the whole process seems rushed and opaque.

For his part, the mayor believes they’ve trotted out the tax everywhere necessary, “We’ve been through the legislature.  We’ve been through the governor’s office.  We’ve been through neighborhood associations.  We’ve been through civic associations.  We’ve been through community associations and business associations.  So we’ve talked to practically everybody out there to try to let them know that this is something important.”

Brashers isn’t even entirely unconvinced about the project. He tells me he understands the need for infrastructure.  He just wants a say in it, “Why can’t we vote on it?  Why can’t I vote on whether I want a tax increase or not?  The city is going to decide.  The five members of the city council will decide.  What if it’s three-two?  So we’re saying that one person is going to decide on a one-percent increase of the sales tax for Huntsville.”

He just wishes projects like these would come up for public approval, “If we need $125 million and the citizens want it, let’s generate it.  Stop it.  And if they want something else, come back to the citizens and ask for it.”

It was suggested during a work session that a “sunset provision” be introduced – that would cut the tax off once the funds for the road projects are raised.

All this should come back up on Thursday when the city council is set to vote.  State leaders want a quick decision to get started on the projects.

Until then, you can contact your council representatives to voice your opinion.


  • Robert

    I wish they would quit giving money away for just any reason & quit wasting what we already are paying at 8 % . Wasting $40 million somewhere on a JAIL Some folks have not forgot about that. The retirees have had 2 COLA’S in the 14 years I’ve been retired. I really don’t have another penny to spare. The seniors are struggling enough already. Maybe they need the Toll Road System again, until they get it built.

    • TC

      Tea Party is the problem?? You should not talk if you have nothing better to say than assumptions. The problem with all of government is overindulgence and the Tea Party is against that. I am a conservative which means above all I believe in conserving. A local tax increase is not what conservatives want, most are against more taxes. Everyone is being asked to make-do with what they have; stretch that dollar just a bit more, well mine is at a breaking point as are many others I know. The city can do the same. I am emphatically against any additional taxes burdening the citizens of our city. By the way, do you think people that identify with the Tea Party have no elderly people in their families – no mothers, fathers, or grandparents? Do you really think they are against old people? Oh and as the poster above us implied, seniors will also have to pay this tax increase…

      • Wake Up

        TC, is the level of military spending also an example of overindulgence? How about the farm subsidies to large corporate farms? Tax breaks for corporations? I do not see the tea party going after those types of overindulgence. It seems the only thing they define as overindulgence are things that do not benefit them or groups that they like. They use the “we must get our financial house in order” argument to only cut programs that help the lower social strata. It is ok to hate the poor if you want, just do not use the excuse that you are trying to control government spending while you support increases in other areas of government spending!

  • TC

    You forgot about oil company subsidies…
    Thing is an increase in sales tax will hurt poor people too. This is not just a luxury tax increase (tax for the wealthy), but an across the board sales tax increase, which will hit everyone purchasing anything at all income levels – effectively reducing the purchasing power of our hard earned money. Any subsidy to a corporation/company is in essence wrong, provided said company is successful. All businesses should stand on their on or fall on their on, much like all of us. The Tea Party is just catching a bad wrap from liberal media outlets, well that and Sarah Palin being one of their talking heads is not helping their cause at all. Back to point – a tax increase is a horrible idea in a fragile economy. Are you in support of a sales tax increase?
    Oh and tax breaks on corporations at the state level help create jobs for the state, since every state is vying for the business to be placed in their state a bidding war breaks out and the business typically goes where it can benefit most. Is this wrong? Maybe, but not much that can be done about it…

    • Wake Up

      So it is ok to raise/use taxes to fund extortion demands to get companies to come to Alabama. As I said, the tea party is for indulgences when it is for things they like! Thanks for proving that point!

      • TC

        You just sound like you are anti-Tea Party, and that is fine, but did you read the entire post or just the last bit (which upon a reread – did not warrant your last post)? In essence, all taxes are just legal extortion. So, one could look at the sales tax increase as extortion for road work. You are employing misdirection in you argument, this is not about and never was about the Tea Party, but about a tax that would further burden an already strapped populace. Again, you never have stated whether you are for or against this additional tax, just that you do not like the Tea Party. Until you get on subject, I am done…have a nice day.

      • Saul Alinsky

        Go ahead and call T C a bad name , that’s what my people do wakeup,I thought you were one of my people wakeup, I demand you do it!

      • Wake Up

        TC, I do not like or dislike the tea party. I am just pointing out their hypocrisy when it comes to government spending. If the tea party really is against all government spending they would be more consistent. But they are not. They are only against some government spending. Again, I will point out that they only cut certain government spending and not others. They are no different than the other political groups when it comes to government spending, but they what people to believe they are different.

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