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Springfield braces for new sales and natural gas tax

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The deadline to pass a city budget is March 1. With less than two weeks to go, Mayor Langfelder and the rest of the city council are in a difficult position. According to the Mayor, the city is facing the first revenue decline in 30 years. This is due to a number of factors, many of which stem from the two year state budget impasse. Regardless of the cause, the City needs more revenue to pass a budget.

The first proposal to balance the budget was a quarter of a percent (0.25%) sales tax increase, raising the city’s tax from 8.5 percent to 8.75 percent. This would be an almost three percent increase to the rate. Sales taxes, like any tax, are naturally unpopular. But sales taxes are particularly regressive (meaning they impact the poor more than the rich), and so carry additional political problems.

However, the more pressing problem with the proposed increase is that the quarter percent increase would not fill the budget hole. In an email to the aldermen, Langfelder said that because there is “minimal or zero desire to cut services,” additional funding would need to be found. To fill the gap, he proposed a Natural Gas Tax ordinance. The tax would be set at four percent.  This move would also address the “need to diversify the city’s revenue sources.”

The next Springfield City Council meeting is set for this Tuesday, February 20, at 5:30 PM. Meeting are held at on the third floor of the municipal center, located at 7th and Monroe. If you wish to address the council, you must file your request by Monday at 5:30. Information about how to do so can be found on the city’s website.

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