There has been quite an outpouring of organized support as the March 3 vote approaches on a 1-percent local-option sales tax.
The City Council supports it. There’s a local grass-roots group, Vote YES! For Our Neighbors. The Chamber of Commerce, Downtown District, Hawkeye Labor Council, the Next Generation Commission, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and on and on.
That surely doesn’t mean there aren’t opponents.
Tim Pugh, who identifies himself as a 32-year-old small business owner, is leading a group that calls itself Cedar Rapids Tea Party.
Pugh says he has about 75 people who have signed for the cause to date.
He handed out a flier at the Wednesday evening council meeting: “Now is NOT the time to get LOST,” the flier reads. LOST, of course, is local-option sales tax.
The 1-percent tax is expected to raise between $18 million and $24 million a year for five years and three months, with 90 percent going for flood relief and 10 percent for property tax relief. Cedar Rapids Tea Party says the portion going to property-tax relief is “pennies for Homeowners.”
The group wants the city to cut waste in its budget, not raise taxes. The group says the city already has “squandered” flood relief funds.
Carol Martin, the well-known critic of City Hall spending, also is organizing a network of sales-tax opponents separate from Tim Pugh’s group.
Two efforts focused on the same message is a good thing, Martin said Thursday.