Half Cent Sales Tax Would Never End


By Jon A. Brake

They are asking an awful lot. Iím talking about the Riley County Commission. They want the voters of Riley County to approve a half-cent sales tax that would never end.

Why would anyone ever vote for something like that?

The Commission gave their Roads and Jobs talk to the Intergovernmental Meeting Monday. At the end City Commissioner Mark Taussig asked County Commission Chairman Bob Newsome "When will this sale tax sunset?" Newsome told the group that the tax would not end.

The County already has a half-cent sales tax that started in 1983 and will run forever. The City of Manhattan also has a half-cent sales tax approved in 1982 that will never end. Now, the County Commission after years of spending money on "other" things are asking the voters to approve another sales tax.

Taussig also told the County Commissioners that the Public Opinion Survey conducted by the Manhattan Chamber was misleading. The County Commission has been telling voters that 42% of the sales tax that goes to the County would be for Roads and Bridges. The 56% that goes to the City would go for Economic Development. (The other 2% would go to other Cities in the County.)

Taussig said the question looked like the money would be spent on City Roads and Economic Development.

Here is the question put to 400 Manhattan and Riley County voters:

Question 1. Would you support a continuation of this tax to provide some money to repair or replace roads and bridges and also use a portion to help current and new businesses create more quality jobs in Manhattan and Riley County.

City voters responded 51% yes and 29% no. County voters responded 54% yes and 36% no.