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Time running out for tax repeal movement



Published: Tue, August 9, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The state sales tax is lower, but Trumbull County residents won't get the benefit.

By MONICA BOND

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Chances remain slim that organizers of an effort to repeal one of the new Trumbull County sales taxes will collect enough signatures to place a measure on the November ballot.

Bill Walls, who owns B & amp; B Automotive Machine at 717 W. Main St. and has a "sales tax petition" trailer in his parking lot, has until Aug. 25 to finish collecting about 7,200 signatures and file them at the county board of elections. He has only about 6,000 signatures, he said.

"At this point I don't think it's going to be successful," he said.

Walls said there were about 30 volunteers out collecting signatures, but some have finished.

"We have about 10 people out there to get signatures, but from the number of signatures I've seen people get, I don't think they'll make it," he said. "Even if they did very well, I still think we'd be short."

Walls said he opposes the tax because government officials are imposing it on the people, he said.

"It was voted on once before and the voters rejected it, and then they made it an emergency tax, so they're imposing it," he said.

Taxing for justice

Collection on the quarter-percent additional sales tax for criminal justice services, such as the sheriff, started in July because it is an emergency measure.

Another new quarter-percent county sales tax now being collected is for general county operations. Earlier this year, Thaddeus Price of Howland had hoped to gather 7,170 signatures to force that tax onto the November ballot, but couldn't get enough.

Both new taxes are for a continuing period on retail sales. Each quarter-percent tax would generate about $400,000 per month, or about $4.8 million a year, if collections remain steady.

The county already collects a half-percent sales tax. The two new taxes make the county's total sales tax rate 1 percent. Ironically, the additional county taxes and the state sales tax washed out each other this summer. Ohio's sales tax went from 6 percent to 51/2 percent July 1.

Petition difficulties

Walls said petition drives for both taxes confused people.

"When the first quarter-percent ran out of time, they thought it was over," he said. "People just aren't interested."

Curb and roadway construction in front of Walls' business also hurt the effort to collect signatures. Barrels and arrow signs slowed traffic and at one point prevented westbound access to B & amp; B Automotive. Also, people couldn't walk across the street to the trailer from the busy Hot Dog Shoppe.

Even though the petition doesn't look like it will work, Walls said he is glad he did it because he learned about how the political system works.

"I've gotten an education," he said. "It's the first time I've gotten involved in something like this and I'm glad I did."




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