Committee talks additional tax for fire, police dept. salariesPublished 1:13pm Thursday, November 22, 2012
When the Selma City Council Public Safety Committee met Tuesday, the idea of imposing a sin tax was brought up during a discussion of increasing salaries of those who work in public safety departments across the city.
Ward 5 councilman Samuel Randolph said he feels increasing the pay of officers and firemen is necessary because when the state opens up classes for troopers, and other surrounding cities offer jobs in public safety, Selma could lose good officers.
“We need to come up with ways to raise the revenue to give these people a pay raise,” Randolph said. “We are getting ready to start losing some people and I want us to come up with ways to raise the revenue. If it means raising taxes I’m fine with that — we have to do something to keep our officers here.”
As several weighed in during the meeting, the idea of a sin tax was proposed and the public safety committee asked if Mayor George Evans would check into the idea of the tax and check into that tax going towards a pay raise for those in the Selma Police Department as well as those working for Selma Fire and Rescue.
A sin tax is a tax imposed on certain goods and items and in other cities the tax has included items such as alcohol, tobacco, fast food items, coffee and gambling. Sin taxes discourage the public from using goods and services that are potentially harmful to health of residents and therefore, the sin tax is seen as a preventative measure for disease and sickness. The revenue from the tax is then used for the public, and in this case public safety.
“We owe another dialogue,” Evans said about the tax. “Let’s make sure that we include everybody, [the public safety] salary can be much higher but by the same token, to give one segment of our departments a raise it would say to other departments ‘you aren’t important.’”
Evans agreed to look into a sin tax, or other ways to increase the salary for public safety officers. There was no decision reached about a new tax, just a discussion.
The current sales tax in the city of Selma is a 9.5 percent sales tax — 4 percent for the city, 4 percent for the state and in December an additional 1.5 percent will go towards Dallas County.