Wednesday, February 06, 2002

Butler may delay request for sales-tax hike

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — The Butler County commissioners now are pondering whether to wait until this Novemberor May 2003 to place a proposed sales-tax increase on the ballot.

        The commissioners, who last week withdrew the 10-year sales-tax increase scheduled to take effect March 1, said then they would place it on the May 7 primary ballot after holding two public hearings this month.

        But the consultant for a successful sales-tax campaign last year in President Bush's hometown of Midland, Texas, told them Tuesday there might not be enough time to build an effective campaign for May.

        “It would be a crunch,” said Hollis Grizzard, a consultant with Frank M. Magid Associates of Marion, Iowa.

        The commissioners asked Mr. Grizzard, who was in Indianapolis on a business trip, to meet with them and other county and local officials Tuesday in Hamilton.

        Two of the three commissioners favor raising the sales tax a half-cent for six years and dropping it back a quarter-cent the last four years to generate $129 million for road improvements and other projects designed to boost economic development.

        They enacted the tax in December, but rescinded it last week when it became apparent that opponents had gathered enough signatures to place a referendum on the May 7 ballot.

        Commissioner Chuck Furmon said the tax increase might have a better chance in November or in May 2003.


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