Having approved a small county sales tax increase in September, voters will likely face another sales tax proposition, identical in amount, in the March election. Whether the proposition stays on the March ballot hinges on a local agreement on how the new revenue will be administered and spent.The immutable law of economics rears its ugly head again. The law of economics may not be as obvious or immediate as say the law of gravity, but the consequences are just as certain.
The county's new sales tax rate of 7.7 percent took effect Jan. 1. The March proposition would move it to 7.8 percent.
The extra tenth of a penny on the dollar will be earmaked for emergency communication systems.
Pullman is growing, faster than both the state and national averages. That growth has put strains on both police and emergency services. But that growth is not paying for itself, as half of every dollar spent in Pullman is spent outside of Pullman and Whitman County. Again I say to those who claim that we "already have a Wal-Mart just eight miles away", does anyone in Moscow or Latah County pick up the phone when you dial 911?
Whitman County's retail sales tax base is one of the lowest in the state and our property tax rate is limited by initiative, so guess what? The increased costs are going to have to come out of our existing businesses. And out of you, the consumer.
If PARD had not fought Wal-Mart, the Supercenter would already have been constructed by now. Does anyone believe that this tax increase and the one before it would have been necessary if we had Wal-Mart now? Of course not.
Sales taxes are the worst kinds of taxes. They are regressive in nature. They impact most those least able to afford it. And every sales tax increase in Washington drives that many more people over to Idaho to shop, furher increasing our economic imbalance.
Chris Lupke was quoted as saying in The Inlander , "People have to decide how strongly they feel about it...and if they feel strongly about it, you fight them. And only by fighting them will they ever change." Is your personal grudge match against Wal-Mart worth all this Chris? When is enough enough? Is PARD going to have to destroy the village in order to save it?