LETTER: Let's pay ourselves

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Have you ever stopped to think that every time you make a purchase in a county adjacent to ours that you leave behind 3 cents on every dollar to their education system?

Cannon County is adjacent to Murfreesboro, Manchester, McMinnville, and Smithville. All have a 2.75% sales tax rate, and a Wal-Mart. Practically all of us do a lot of our shopping in these areas and leave that tax money behind to fund their educational system to benefit their children.

Our tax rate is 1.75%. Do you believe it is appropriate to support other counties more than we are willing to fund ourselves? The reality is that most citizens of those counties don’t travel back into our county to shop, so we pay them, but they don’t pay us. It’s not rocket science to believe that we should contribute to our education system and programs equal to what we contribute to our neighbors.

Landowners should also consider what a vote for or against a sales tax means for them. A sales tax will help alleviate the need to ask for more property tax which has been the means of increased revenue in the last few years. Voting against the sales tax or not voting at all is essentially a vote for additional property tax increases.

Teachers should consider the fact that this year, the school’s budget had to be cut to help fund the county’s budget. Part of the sales tax is earmarked specifically for schools.

The myth that sales tax unjustly affects lower income people has been argued for years. My first thought is that rent is not affected; neither is electricity, natural gas, vehicle gas, purchases made with food stamps or WIC, medical services and many of the things that low income people purchase. Most tax professors don’t support the argument that citizens with low income are adversely affected by a sales tax increase.

Other things that won’t be affected include: diesel, doctor’s visits, hospital stays, medications, medical equipment, farm equipment/expenses and supplies, land, and the sales tax on automobiles will only increase by $16.00.

In closing, it just makes sense to pay ourselves what we pay our neighbors. Our commission has given us the opportunity to do this on the Novewmber 6 ballot. Let’s vote to support ourselves as much as we support our surrounding counties. If you have further questions regarding sales tax, I am usually at home.

Ray C. Todd
Retired Sales Tax Consultant

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