Cedar Rapids residents will vote next month on whether to raise the sales tax by a penny to help flood rebuilding efforts. Tim Pugh is the leader of the Cedar Rapids Tea Party, a group opposed to the tax hike. To protest the measure, the group plans a symbolic tea dump in the Cedar River.
Pugh says he’s concerned the money will be mismanaged and wants the city to cut spending before going to taxpayers. Pugh says, "Look for ways to save money. We have to save money, we have to pinch and save. They can do the same." Members say now is not the time to raise taxes because of the bad economy.
On the flip side of the issue is Gary Ficken, who co-chairs the group, "Vote Yes, For Our Neighbors." Ficken’s group is urging Cedar Rapids voters to pass the local option sales tax, saying it will speed up rebuilding efforts. If approved it’s expected to bring in at least $18-million to Cedar Rapids, most of which is slated for flood recovery.
Ficken says, "This is a chance for Cedar Rapids to put some skin in the game and show that we’re willing to take some of the pain on ourselves and that’s what’s important for Des Moines, for Washington D.C. to see, that we need help and we’re willing to share some of that burden ourselves." The vote is March 3rd.