Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Retail Follows Rooftops?
One line the Dispatch/Argus has always used in the past when they have endorsed the one percent school sales tax for Rock Island County is "retail follows rooftops". If that were to be true how can it be that Scott County, with a population only 18,000 more than the population of Rock Island County collected almost twice as much sales tax revenue? Scott County collected $147.4 million in sales tax in 2012 while Rock Island County, with only 18,000 fewer residents, collected only $74.5 million in sales tax revenue! Obviously other factors than mere number of rooftops account for this huge disparity. Retail businesses in Scott County enjoy lower property taxes, a $1.00 per hour lower minimum wage, lower workman's compensation expenses and a slightly lower sales tax than retail businesses in Rock Island County. Scott County restaurants and other sellers of prepared food have a seven percent sale tax while in Moline and Rock Island the current sales tax is nine percent which would rise to ten percent with the new school sales tax. Obviously, there are many reasons why Rock Island County is losing population (in the last census Rock Island County lost 2,000 residents while Scott County gained 7,000), businesses and jobs but the added one percent school sales tax would certainly make Rock Island County even less competitive in the battle for retail sales. Why would Rock Island County Voters even consider making our county less competitive? Vote NO April 7.