Haste makes bad tax policy in Edwardsville

March 26, 2014 

Edwardsville leaders are in such a rush to impose a 0.25 percent sales tax that they have waived City Council rules and called a special meeting for tonight to pass the tax, which was proposed just last week.

Why the rush? The excuse -- and there's always an excuse to rush into new taxes, isn't there? -- is that the state has an April 1 deadline to add the tax; the next date would be Oct. 1.

The council needs to wait. The Edwardsville-Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce objects to the haste and so should every resident and taxpayer. This is too important an issue to ramrod it through without careful public consideration and discussion.

Proponents pretend the 0.25 percent sales tax is no big deal; just a couple of pennies on a $10 lunch. But this tax is expected to take $1.2 million out of the taxpayers' pocket its first year. That amount is still a big deal; it could negatively affect businesses, particularly businesses that sell big-ticket items.

The public also needs clarity on city leaders' long-term plans for this tax. They say the money will be used to pay for a new police and fire station, but will they stop collecting the tax once those projects are complete? More likely this new tax is open-ended, meaning forever.

We encourage Edwardsville residents and business owners to attend the meeting at 7 tonight at City Hall and insist that the tax proposal be tabled until it can be fully vetted.

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