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Patrick O'Brien: Moral of the story about sales taxes
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For years now, Green County residents have enjoyed the benefits of a county sales tax that has been used to cushion the accelerating costs of property taxes. A large portion of that money is now to be used to build, and then to maintain, a $20 million facility to be built outside of the downtown.

A levy which specifically was designated for property tax relief is now to be used as a source of funding a public works project that provides no obvious return in sales tax revenue, or property tax relief. Quite to the contrary, with property values and the overall economy in decline, the Justice Center threatens to become a burden on taxpayers. At least if it was downtown, and the majority of revenues were to be expended on local firms and local businesses, the proponents of the Justice Center could argue that the expenditures could provide some return. But this grand scheme underscores the truth about conservative views toward taxation; you start with a sales tax to provide property tax relief, and it ends up in general revenue and more overpriced real estate.

There is a moral in all this for the Times reader who recently suggested a state sales tax for the purpose of property tax relief. Instead, we are simply increasing costs for businesses and individuals, making our county and our state less competitive, and adding to the long-term costs for everyone who lives here as well.

The only way to stop the proposal is for opponents to defeat candidates who support the Justice Center by an overwhelming margin, and make the election a referendum on the Justice Center, whether the supervisors allow a referendum or not.