Jacksonville Pension Task Force Member: Use Sales Tax to Fund Pensions

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A member of Jacksonville’s Pension Reform Task Force is calling for the levy of a sales tax, with revenues going toward the city’s Police and Fire Pension Fund.

Dr. Sherry Magill, the president of the Jessie Ball Du Pont Fund and a member of Jacksonville’s Pension Reform Task Force, is latching on to a sales tax measure proposed last month by Councilman Bill Gulliford.

Gulliford’s measure would put a half-penny sales tax on the May ballot. Voters would then decide its fate.

More from the Florida Times-Union:

As a member of the mayor’s task force on pension reform, I urge members of City Council to pass Councilman Bill Gulliford’s bill to place a half-penny sales tax on the ballot.

I appeal to voters to pass the measure. Without a dedicated revenue source to pay down the police and fire pension obligation we incurred over many years, City Council will have no choice but to close libraries, stop mowing parks and eventually eliminate the basic functions of local government.

[…]

The city’s finances will only get worse over time. The fairest method of raising revenue is the sales tax, spreading our obligation across the community.

Since the task force released its report 11 months ago, many City Council members have reached the identical conclusion: We cannot maintain basic functions of local government if we do not raise new funds to spend down the debt. Both the Fitch and Moody credit rating agencies downgraded the city’s bond ratings, warning us to pay our debts.

[…]

The task force called for shared sacrifice. Police and firefighters have agreed to make additional pension payments and reduce benefits. It’s time for the public to keep faith with the people who protect us and to pay our debts.

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown has said he will veto any measure to put a sales tax on the ballot.

 

Photo by  pshab via Flickr CC License

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