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RI County Board Votes On Sales Tax Hike

Sheriff Gerry Bustos wears a red shirt, stands in front of a white board while speaking at a public meeting.
Sheriff Gerry Bustos speaks at a public meeting on Aug. 1st, 2016.

The Rock Island County Board will ask voters to approve a sales tax increase. Members voted Tuesday night to place the referendum on the November ballot. Voters will decide whether to raise the sales tax by one half of one percent. And that would raise about $7.5 million a year for public safety.

The board recently held public meetings to explain why it's necessary. The county administrator says without the new revenue, Rock Island County may have to cut up to one third of its workforce. The sheriff's department would bear the brunt of the layoffs.

Sheriff Gerry Bustos says his employees have been working without new equipment for decades. One example is the need is for digital radios.

Sheriff Bustos says for the past six years, he's cut one million dollars from the department budget.

The sales tax for general merchandise in Moline and Rock Island is currently 7.5%. It's 6.75% in East Moline and Silvis. (Click HERE for the Illinois Sales Tax Finder.) In the Iowa Quad Cities, the sales tax is 7%.  (And HERE is Iowa's Sales Tax Rate Lookup by zip code.)

The board meeting begins at 5:30.

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