Most residents in Linn County begin paying a self-imposed tax today that government leaders say will help pay for flood recovery. Voters in all but five cities in the county approved the extra penny-per-dollar sales tax last month. The increase is expected to bring in $18-million for Cedar Rapids.
Cedar Rapids Mayor Kay Halloran says a nine-member oversight committee will review the council’s decisions on spending the money. "We had a lot of people who seemed to be uneasy about the use of the tax money and at which point it was appropriate and frankly easier to find other people who would be the oversight for those expenditures," Halloran says.
Some 70 people applied to be on the oversight committee. While most business owners will pass the cost on to customers, some say it will be more difficult. Rohollah Hosseini is the owner of the Coin Kleen Laundromat in Cedar Rapids, and says he can’t justify raising prices another quarter to make up the tax.
He isn’t against the tax overall. Hosseni says," If they use it for the right purpose, I’m not against it but I just don’t think it’s fair for the Laundromat to pay the customer share out of their pocket."
He says not passing on the tax increase means the laundromat could lose as much as three thousand dollars per year. The tax will not go into effect in Hiawatha and Marion. Those cities in addition to all of Johnson County will vote on a sales tax increase next month.