Proposed Wage Tax Increase
Submitted by Mayor Robert W. Wilson – 2/29/2004
On Tuesday March 2nd, the voters of Toronto are being asked to support and increase of 0.5% city wage tax. money from this tax goes into the city’s General Operating Fund.
It is used to subsidize such items as recreation; swimming pool, Roosevelt Center, Newburg Landing, city parks and playgrounds. It is used for capital improvements such as street and alley repairs, resurfacing, police cruisers, trucks, backhoe, and street sweepers. It is also used for Meicial insurance, wages and pensions for fire and police, garbage and refuse and supports senior citizens activities.
Some question why the city is asking for additional tax money at a time when all around us businesses are closing, people are losing jobs, prices for gasoline, home heating and medical insurance are rising. These circumstances also affect the city and are precisely why we must ask for revenue to cover losses we are experiencing. The closing of Hancock Manufacturing resulted in a $70,000 revenue loss. Titanium Metals employees paid $50,000 less in wage taxes in 2002 and 2003. Government funds from the state have been cut significantly. Expenditures for health insurance, utilities, chemcials, salt, street repairs and parts have all risen.
Since early January, the Finance Committee, chaired by Councilman Larry Coppa and including City Auditor Bob Owen, Service Director Bob Guydosh, Department Heads and myself have spent many hours reviewing budget cuts and have made them in all areas. As elected officials, we are obligated to present a balanced budget to the county. If we are unable to balance by line item reductions, we will be forced to consider lay-offs and cutbacks in service to our citizens as a last resort.
The 0.5% increase will cost each wage earner an additional $.50 for each $100 earned. It should be noted that the retired and disabled will not pay the increase. Presently, cities of Steubenville and Mingo have a 2% wage tax. The increase we are seeking would put us on the same playing field as these cities, going from 1.5% to 2%. City tax is also deductible from federal tax when the filing the long form.
The bottom line is wheter or not you believe Toronto is worth the investment of another 0.5%. We live in a town where volunteers already pick up some of the funding for projects we simply do not have the resources to provide. For years, Toronto has had no choice but to operate “mean and lean”. We have done without. Now our backs are to the wall and if we are to survive this economy, we all have to bear a little more burden. Voters elect people to government to make responsible decisions, not popular ones. The decision to ask for this increase is a responsible decision. Other taxes we all pay go to the federal, state and county governments. This is the ONE tax that is used entirely for the city in which we live.
Voting against this tax increase is voting against yourself and your city services. Please vote YES on March 2nd.
Mayor Robert W. Wilson