Part II: Hale’s plan for continued funding

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A s you may have heard by now, I am retiring from public office at the end of this current supervisor’s term ending December 31st, 2015. After almost 30 years of public office, I’m still not satisfied with the progress in this county and it isn’t because great men didn’t have great ideas but rather the lack of funds has hampered sustainable development in this county. To address this issue as well as the future needs of the citizenry of this county I know that a countywide one percent sales tax increase on everything currently being taxed at the seven percent state rate will put this county in great financial shape for years to come, while addressing infrastructure needs as well as creating an environment for not only home ownership growth but small business growth too.

Let me lay out how this would work.

I want the bill to specify that after the first year of collections, the new millage rate should reflect a millage decrease of at least 5 miles or one-third of the amount collected based on which would give the greater ad valorem tax decrease. One-third can be used to address normal growth in budget needs from year to year or small capital outlay projects. The remaining one-third must be placed in a rainy day fund and be restricted from spending any of that amount for the first three years of collection except only in the case of a major emergency but only after holding a public hearing to inform the public why there is a need to spend from it. If this formula is followed you could possibly see several millage decreases until things kind of reach a happy medium. I want in the bill that when the rainy day fund does become eligible for expenditures that no more than one-third of it can be spent from year to year so that it would automatically replenish itself unless it’s totally necessary to spend more. The benefits to citizens who pay property taxes would be lower property taxes point blank. Lower millage rates would also mean a reduction in the cost of car tags. For every dollar saved on property taxes the tax payer would have to spend $100 on taxable goods in the county to pay the equivalent amount of sales tax and that’s your choice where you spend your money.

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Business property taxes would go down, thus lowering their overhead and they could lower their prices to be more competitive while still maintaining or improving their profit margins. I think those things would spur new home growth as well as new small business growth. I don’t think this will create any undo hardship on any citizen of this county. This county is bordered on two sides by cities in Louisiana that are frequently shopped by citizens of this county where there is a higher sales tax rate than I am proposing. There are areas in neighboring counties that Pearl River County citizens shop and eat and pay higher sales taxes that benefits them, so why not help yourself. This will broaden our tax base so much until I believe it could truly transform this County, under the right leadership, into something you and I would be even more proud to call home.

I love Pearl River County, and I’ve invested a lot of years into trying to help it. I want to make it easier for those coming behind us to better serve and provide a safe healthy environment for your family and mine.

By Anthony Hales