Taxing Politics

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It’s a week before election day and the proposed half-cent sales tax has opposition.

Business owner Charlie Hilton says he wants people to know where their money is going if they vote to reinstate the half-cent sales tax, and he's making a heard with several commercials opposing the tax that just began running this week.

"It's not going to help to give them this other tax money, they've already proven, the county government's proven that they won't spend sales tax money for what they say they will."

Bay County Commissioner John Newberry agrees with Hilton. This is the reason he suggested there be an oversight committee to effectively manage the tax dollars if indeed it does pass.

"The oversight committee is a safeguard to have and ensure that citizens input and oversight watches over the expenditure of the half-cent sales tax."

All of the mayors in Bay County, except for Mayor Lee Sullivan of Panama City Beach, expressed their support along with the Bay County Chamber of Commerce Monday afternoon in support of the tax.

Scott Clemons, the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, says the tax will help the entire community.

"We create economic opportunity, that's what we want to do. This sales tax does this by putting money into economic development activity. We really like that, that's part of our mission, but also by strengthening our infrastructure we do the same thing as well."

The last half-cent sales tax expired in Bay County in May 2003. County commissioners waited until this year to as voters to reinstate the tax.