Local Option Sales Tax – a quick primer


Today (1/29), Senate File 44 aka the Local Option Sales Tax passed the Iowa House on a 55-37 vote. I’m assuming the Governor will sign it in the next day or two. Here’s a quick primer on it in layman’s terms. Correct me if I’m wrong. In fact, call me if I’m wrong. I’m at 892-5333.

1. By 5pm on February 3rd, the City of CR has to file a request with my office – the Commissioner of Elections – to initiate an election.

2. By 5pm on Feb 3rd, I’m asking every city to provide a revenue purpose statement to my office. (I already asked the Board of Supervisors to provide a revenue purpose statement.)

3. Once we receive the revenue purpose statements from the cities and BOS (on behalf of the unincorporated areas), we can create the ballots and start printing ballots.

4. The BOS determines the sunset – the expiration of the tax – for the entire County.

5. If we do not receive a revenue purpose statement from a city or the BOS, then the revenue statement on those ballots will indicate zero percentage for property tax relief and the remainder (100%) for any legal purpose.

6. Each entity (city or unincorporated area) will have a distinct ballot.

7. Each entity determines whether the tax goes into effect for their city or unincorporated area.

8. The collection of the tax would begin on April 1st if the election is held on March 3rd.

9. Coggon, Bertram, Central City, and Prairieburg already have a LOST in effect and won’t be participating in this vote.

10. Examples of possible scenarios:
• Cedar Rapids approves the tax – all other entities disapprove = CR only collects tax and receives tax proceeds.
• Palo approves the tax – all other entities disapprove = Palo only collects tax and receives tax proceeds.
• All cities approve tax – unincorporated areas disapprove = unincorporated areas pay the tax when they shop in the cities, but do NOT receive any tax proceeds, i.e., the County (BOS) does not receive any tax proceeds to spend in the unincorporated areas. [1/31 update: Remember the vote on the pools? Unincorporated areas voted NO and then had to gather signatures for a re-vote, which resulted in a YES vote]

11. Hiawatha or Robins or Marion or Fairfax approve the tax, but CR disapproves = one or more of the first four listed cities collect the tax and receive proceeds from the tax, but no one pays the tax when shopping in CR.

12. Absentee ballots will be available as soon as we receive official documentation from each entity. Some ballots may be available before others depending on how quickly each entity responds and how quickly our printer can get the ballots printed. Call 892-5300 before driving to our office at Westdale Mall to ensure we have your ballot ready for you. [1/31 update: Absentee ballots should be available for all voters starting at 8am on Friday, February 6th]

13. Polls will be open on March 3rd at your regular general election polling place from 7am – 8pm.

This information is subject to change.

Joel D Miller
Linn County Auditor &
Commissioner of Elections
PO Box 1328
Cedar Rapids, IA 52406
319-892-5333

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One Response to “Local Option Sales Tax – a quick primer”

  1. Tom Slockett Says:

    Good job, Joel. Using a tool showed to me by Joel Gabrielson from the Department of Revenue and assuming $32 million in annual sales tax revenue (it might be a little higher) I made the following table showing the annual estimated receipts of each Linn County jurisdiction assuming that it passed everywhere (a big assumption). I’m not sure how it will look if I paste it in here, but here goes:

    Co# Name Certified 2000 Census Population Passed? Yes / No 3-Year Property Tax Levies Percent Of Levy Certified 2000 Census Population Percent Of Population Distribution Percentage Distribution Amount
    57 Cedar Rapids 120,758 Yes 85,973,789 51.44% 120,758 62.67% 59.86% $19,155,779.07

    57 Marion 26,294 Yes 8,596,046 5.14% 26,294 13.65% 11.52% $3,686,397.32

    57 Center Point 2,007 Yes 632,887 0.38% 2,007 1.04% 0.88% $280,267.22

    57 Central City 1,157 Yes 299,402 0.18% 1,157 0.60% 0.50% $158,436.38

    57 Hiawatha 6,480 Yes 1,498,094 0.90% 6,480 3.36% 2.75% $878,796.33

    57 Lisbon 1,898 Yes 575,064 0.34% 1,898 0.98% 0.82% $263,923.40

    57 Mount Vernon 4,171 Yes 1,055,406 0.63% 4,171 2.16% 1.78% $570,019.15

    57 Coggon 745 Yes 193,753 0.12% 745 0.39% 0.32% $102,064.48

    57 Fairfax 1,662 Yes 256,677 0.15% 1,662 0.86% 0.69% $219,289.23

    57 Springville 1,091 Yes 167,163 0.10% 1,091 0.57% 0.45% $143,886.15

    57 Walker 750 Yes 178,513 0.11% 750 0.39% 0.32% $101,957.74

    57 Alburnette 559 Yes 112,780 0.07% 559 0.29% 0.23% $75,022.15

    57 Bertram 263 Yes 42,190 0.03% 263 0.14% 0.11% $34,776.28

    57 Ely 1,149 Yes 128,922 0.08% 1,149 0.60% 0.47% $149,279.59

    57 Palo 614 Yes 130,806 0.08% 614 0.32% 0.26% $82,735.28

    57 Prairieburg 175 Yes 32,081 0.02% 175 0.09% 0.07% $23,331.95

    57 Robins 2,435 Yes 236,203 0.14% 2,435 1.26% 0.98% $314,586.70

    57 Walford ** (06) 57 120 Yes 0 0.00% 120 0.06% 0.05% $14,946.05

    57 Unincorporated 20,365 Yes 67,019,639 40.10% 20,365 10.57% 17.95% $5,744,505.52

    57 Total Linn Co. 191,701 167,129,415 100.00% 192,693 100.00% 100.00% $31,999,999.99

    Like

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