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Wed August 14, 2013
How do local taxes work?
On this week's podcast, we break down your local tax dollar with guest-host Lora Wegman from the Columbia Daily Tribune.
When Mayor Bob McDavid proposed a 20 cent increase in the city's property tax (currently $0.41/$100 assessed value) the CoMo Explained team got to thinking: how much do people really know about the local taxes we pay in Columbia? McDavid later rescinded his support for such a tax after the Columbia Police Officers Association pointed out that there should be enough money in the coffers already.
But Columbia passes taxes often enough--we've passed two in the past year. And all of those little 1/8 cent or 3/8 cent taxes start to pile up and it's easy to lose track of what we're paying.
Consider the example of the parks tax. In 2000 Stephens College was in a bad way and had to sell off Stephens Lake in a hurry. The city, in an effort to keep it public, raised money to purchase it by creating the parks tax. It went to a ballot and voters agreed to a five year sales tax of $0.25. Half of that tax was for the lake and half of it was for general park stuff. When the tax neared its sunset, the city surveyed the public to guage support for a renewal. Just five years after passing the tax, a full 29% of respondents did not even know that a parks tax existed.
In the podcast today we break down local property and sales tax, as well as some recent "special" taxes like
the Children Services Fund, the 911 services tax, and Prop L (the "other" law enforcement tax). We also lay out the nitty gritty of TDDs and explain why you can save 1/8 of a cent on your groceries by going to one Hyvee over another.