Tag Archives: 1% Sales Tax

1% Sales Tax Pro… Story by Charlie Harrison

1% Sales Tax Pro… Story by Charlie Harrison

The memorial field grandstands are falling down. The structure was built in 1946, so it has been serving the community for almost seventy years. In the past ten years however, the grandstands have failed numerous health and safety tests, with the score dropping every year. Now, the grandstands are set for demolition with no way to stop it. The only question now is what should replace them.  A 1% sales tax increase has been voted on and approved by 60% of voters to fix memorial field. If the sales tax was not approved, the structure would be replaced with nothing but cold aluminum bleachers. The bulk of the money from the tax will be going towards the grandstands, but a lot of the money will also be going into fixing the field itself, including completely replacing the old drainage system and repairing the infrastructure. Any extra funding will go into the

Out with the old... the 1% sales tax will raise money for new bleachers.
Out with the old… the 1% sales tax will raise money for new bleachers.

other city parks such as Sandpoint ‘City Beach and Travis Park.

There are several exemptions to limit the tax on low income and vulnerable households. For instance, gas and diesel are exempt, along with prescriptions and many medical devices. Food stamps are also exempt, and out of state shipments. Utilities will also not be taxed. It is worth noting that the increase will raise Sandpoint’s sales tax to 7%. While it sounds like a lot, it is actually well below the national average of almost 10%. The tax cannot be used for anything but the parks, and can’t last for more than five years without voter approval.

The next Stadium will be designed to be very low maintenance and cheap to run. It is also designed to last for at least another fifty years (and probably longer). The reason people failed to produce the money before was because most of the money came from corporate sponsors, who had to back out for financial reasons. The old stadium was built in 1948 and it has seating capacity for 900 people. However, town population has tripled since then. The new stadium will have capacity for 1500 people. This means the grandstands will be less overcrowded during games and we will be able to sell more tickets. The same goes for the festival at Sandpoint, a major music festival in the pacific North West. The University of Idaho stated that festival has an estimated $2 million direct impact on our community.

And in with the new... Sketch of what the new bleachers will look like.
And in with the new… Sketch of what the new bleachers will look like.

The grandstands will be able to seat more people so the festival will be able to sell more tickets. More tickets will bring more out of town and out of state money into Sandpoint for festival season. Instead of overbooking our field, leading to overcrowded conditions, which we have done in the past, we can provide Sandpoint residents and out of towners alike with a larger, more comfortable stadium for everybody to use. Memorial field brings economic activity into Sandpoint during games such as baseball, football, soccer, and other community sports events. It brings in tourist money for our massive festival that routinely sells out. I think it’s about time we rebuilt it to make sure future generations get to use it too.

What does an extra 1% sales tax in Sandpoint really mean?.. Story by Marcus O’Cyrus

What does an extra 1% sales tax in Sandpoint really mean?.. Story by Marcus O’Cyrus

An extra sales tax for Sandpoint, Idaho was recently passed by the city, but why?  After listening to the commercials, I was deeply moved toward a community effort to rebuild the grand stands at Memorial Field and that everyone could afford to pay an extra 1% sales tax to make it happen over the next 5 years.

Investopedia Breaks Down the Regressive Tax... Sales Tax is a regressive tax that negatively impacts the poor and lower middle class compared to the upper middle class and the wealthy.
Investopedia Breaks Down the Regressive Tax… Sales Tax is a regressive tax that negatively impacts the poor and lower middle class compared to the upper middle class and the wealthy.

But, what is a sales tax anyways?  A sales tax is a tax on all purchases. A sales tax is also known as a regressive tax.  It actually harms more people economically, especially those of lower economic status.  A regressive tax takes a larger percentage of a person’s income if they are poor or lower middle class compared to the wealthy.  It is not a tax the wealthy care about since it doesn’t impact them as much as someone living from paycheck to paycheck.  Just looking at the signage in front yards while driving into work each morning, I noticed the more affluent neighborhoods were sporting their support of an extra sales tax while the more economically depressed neighborhoods did not.  It is also a known fact that people of more affluent lifestyles participate more in politics than those who struggle to get by.

What will this increase in sales tax do? Well, most people not in support of the sales tax will move their shopping to Ponderay for the next 5 years.  The economically depressed part of Sandpoint will most likely move the rest of their shopping requirements to Ponderay as well.  How will that affect the businesses of Sandpoint if the majority of the community of local patrons takes their shopping to Ponderay? It’s unfortunate that the wealthy in this case have passed the buck on paying for their dream grand stand onto everyone else in Sandpoint as a community effort.  If this was truly a passion of the 1% supporters, why didn’t each of them donate 1% of their yearly income each year to pay for a new stadium?

I find it ironic that many of the people who are paying for the grand stands will be sitting outside the fenced area to hear the Sandpoint Music Festival.  While those wealthy, cultural elite enjoy the new grand stands from those who can’t afford to even attend the concerts.

The majority of the argument for the one percent increase was trying to play off the idea that the grand stand is not about the music festival, but for the football games played there.  One commercial went so far as to talk about the muskrat bowl.  The argument is also flawed when looking at the value of the grand stand.  Many people in the Sandpoint area do not attend football games, which is a school sanctioned event from the same school district that bullied Bonners County into a property tax increase of 14 million dollars over the next two years and has done this more than once.

Many people say the sales tax will be supported by the tourists, which is false.  The majority of tourists who come to Sandpoint may stay for a week or two at most.  While the locals remain here week after week footing the bill for the tourists who come here to enjoy the facilities the locals are paying for with their grocery purchases.

Something has gone horribly wrong here in Sandpoint when a minority can become a washed in tax generated funding without any fiscal responsibility to the people they are deriving their funding from.  Instead they use that same funding to pay for signage to convince or guilt the community to pass the next tax upon themselves, and yet, we fall for it every time.

Check out this website for some great information:  http://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/regressivetax.asp