Proposed sales tax increase means safer Augusta

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News 12 at six o'clock, February 18, 2008

Augusta, GA---But this tax plan won't get far without your seal of approval. As you head to the polls for Decision 2008 in November one more thing could make it's way on the ballot...yes or no to raising the sales tax.

Raising sales taxes to lock and load officers? "I think it would be worth it," said Michael Morris. Morris says he has dreamed of working for the Richmond County Sheriff's department, but there's just one problem..."It's gotta pay something better than what it does," said Michael.

The city is hoping a new one cent sales tax will help secure current public safety workers and attract new ones. "To go out and protect me for the small amount of dollars they're being paid...I think is not being fair," said Commissioner Don Grantham.

The starting salary for a Richmond County deputy is about $29,000. In Columbia County the starting salary is about $31,000.
That one cent sales tax would mean over 30 million dollars a year for public safety personnel.

"I believe they get enough money by...well they can patrol this road and get a lot of money with all the speeders," said Christy Swift who says no to a tax increase.

But just how much is enough money? "It would hurt my pocket worse to get robbed. Somebody break-in and steal burn down... what's gone cost you more?"

"What this does is give us an opportunity not to keep hitting the same person every time with a tax increase," said Commissioner Grantham. Grantham is looking to simultaneously roll back property taxes. Even still, Christy Swift says no.

"I do not believe we should raise the sales tax one cent not even half a cent." City leaders tell News 12 about 30% of money from local sales tax comes from outside sources. This issue has to go before the Augusta commission, and then to the legislative delegation before possibly finding a place on the November ballot.

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