Possible sales tax hike to impact services

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Services may be impacted in Mahoning County if the half percent sales tax renewal and quarter percent increase isn’t passed this November.

A number of people inside of the packed conference room at the Covelli Centre came out to give their support behind county commissioners.

“Next summer, if this is voted down we are in big trouble, big trouble,” said one of the attendees. “Wouldn’t it be a shame if this got voted down? My God.”

However, others said they don’t have enough information to vote in favor of the issue.

“I’m not really against or for the sales tax, I just need questions answered,” said another attendee.

The issue already failed once in the May primary. If the sales tax renewal fails again this November, county commissioners will have one more chance to try and pass the issue before the current sales tax ends.

“We have one or two more bites at the apple if it doesn’t pass, but if its fails it’ll be traumatic,” said Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti.

Federal and state tax cuts have forced local governments to pick up the slack.

“How do I as an elected official make that up?” questioned Traficanti.

In a six-year period, the county has lost more than $10 million in revenue, an overwhelming majority of that is because of federal and state tax cuts.  Local law enforcement would have some of the biggest shortfalls if the issue fails in November.

“It’ll essentially render most police officers and agencies in communities ineffective,”said Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene.

In all, 10 police chiefs and the sheriff stood in solidarity at Thursday night’s public hearing to show their support for the sales tax.

“We all want our families to be safe,” said Greene.

To see a breakdown of sales tax rates for all Ohio counties, click here.

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