MAHONING COUNTY Chamber backs sales tax renewal

The chamber says tax revenue is needed for the county government to maintain progress.
YOUNGSTOWN -- A 0.5 percent Mahoning County sales tax renewal effort got a nod of approval from the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.
Barbara Ewing, vice president of public policy, said the chamber has endorsed the measure, which expires at the end of this year and is on the ballot May 7 for a five-year renewal.
The chamber was expected to announce its support for the tax during a press conference today.
"We feel very strongly that the tax is needed for the county to continue making the progress it has been making the last few years," Ewing said.
Previous support
The chamber supported the tax when it was originally on the ballot in 1997, and has also supported a separate 0.5 percent sales tax that expires in December 2004.
There are several reasons for the chamber's support, including that commissioners have tried to make improvements in the way county government operates, Ewing said.
She said the chamber especially likes that commissioners have kept their promise to return a portion of sales tax revenue to local communities for economic development projects, using a formula to ensure that all parts of the county get money.
"Clearly, you're seeing definitive efforts by the commissioners to make sure that everybody benefits from this tax," Ewing said.

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