Final Plea for Rock Island County Sales Tax Hike
The Rock Island County Sheriff spelled out the consequences if voters reject a sales tax hike. This morning, Gerry Bustos, Judge Walter Braud, and other officials gave their "closing arguments" for passing the referendum, which is on Tuesday's ballot.
Bustos says the 0.5% sales tax increase would generate $7.5 million a year to pay for public safety, and avoid layoffs. About two dozen Rock Island County deputies stood with the sheriff, wearing black bands across their badges to honor the central Iowa police officers who were murdered this week.
"You can say you support law enforcement all day long. But when you tell them there are no funds for worn-out squad cars, keeping the jail safe, and upgrading 40-year-old communication equipment, your actions will speak louder than your words."
Rock Island County has already been sued twice for failing to pay for public safety operations required by law. The county lost both times, in 1979 and 1995, forcing the county boards to borrow money to build the jail and justice center. Homeowners and businesses had to foot those construction bills, including interest, through increased property taxes.