Madison Superintendent Clarifies Sales Tax Proposal

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MADISON, Ala.(WHNT) – WHNT News 19 would like to offer a clarification on a recent story regarding a half cent sales tax hike in Madison.

On Tuesday, Madison City Schools Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler said that he’s not asking city council members, or voters, to raise or extend the half cent sales tax increase that was implemented three years ago.

Dr. Fowler said Madison City Schools is exploring a potential change in the rules that govern the tax. Under the current ordinance, the tax money goes to pay back construction bonds that built James Clemens High School, with all extra revenue being held in a savings account. But the current rule also restricts the tax money from being spent on day-to-day operations for the district, keeping the leftover revenue effectively frozen.

Fowler said reversing the rule would give greater financial flexibility to the district. Council members are currently reviewing the proposal, and are expected to make a decision on it later this year. City council can choose to reverse the rules with a simple majority vote, or allow Madison residents to decide via public referendum. City council members said the ordinance would apply to construction costs only when it was passed three years ago.

An earlier report by WHNT News 19 incorrectly stated that Fowler was pushing council members to extend the sales tax. Fowler said he wanted to make sure there was no confusion among city residents.

“We’re just saying there’s some extra money in that account, and we’d like to use that money,” said Fowler. “I would tell the voters that are out there that we’re not asking for the tax to be elongated, we’re not asking for an extension, and we’re very pleased and thankful for what we are receiving.”

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