Washington County Board Extends Sales Tax

Once again, the Washington County Board extends the sales tax that was supposed to be temporary, thus confirming the maxim that “there is no such thing as a temporary tax.”

During Tuesday’s meeting, members of the Executive Committee voted to approve a resolution that extends the 0.5 percent sales tax for qualified items. The resolution was amended such that it would be reviewed every five years. The original allowed the tax to continue indefinitely unless there was a concern.

“It is pretty important,” Administrator Joshua Schoemann said. “It is a significant portion. Well over 10 percent of our total operating budget comes from the sales tax. In addition to that, the sales tax precludes us from having to borrow specifically for road improvements.”

According to the accompanying committee report, a sales tax was adopted in 1998 by County Board supervisors and implemented in 1999. Nearly all products are included in the resolution, but there are exceptions, such as food.

“At that time, it was primarily about Fair Park,” Schoemann said. “When they developed Fair Park, that is the revenue source they used to pay off the debt.”

Yes, it is very convenient for Washington County Government to have more money. How nice for them /sarcasm.

The newspaper soft sells it, but for those who don’t know the history… the county had a few major and “urgent” capital projects for which they did not have the money. To address this, they enacted the county’s first sales tax. The tax was supposed to be implemented until those specific projects were paid off, and then sunset. Instead of doing that, when those projects were done, the County Board just decided to keep the tax going and use the money to pay for whatever they want.

Never. Ever. EVER trust a politician who tells you that a tax will just be a temporary measure to cover emergency expenditures.