Alabama: Sales Tax Helps Keep Wheels on Police Cars
- Sales Tax News
- Apr 23, 2014 | Gail Cole
When the front wheels fall off a moving vehicle, it’s dangerous. When that moving vehicle is a police car, it’s dangerous and embarrassing. And it happened in Mobile, Alabama.
The incident took place in March but images of the police car that struck a power pole after its front wheels fell off were not released by Mobile Police Chief James Barber until April 17, 2014. He used the images to press his point with the Mobile City Council that the city’s fleet of cars is dangerously old and a threat to public safety.
Much of the revenue used to replace the aging vehicles is expected to come from a 1-cent sales tax increase that took effect in 2012. With such and aged and infirm fleet of cars, more than $15 million could be spent on new vehicles through 2018. The 1% sales tax increase is temporary and “expected to expire in July 2015.”
Former Mayor Sam Jones supported increasing sales tax to pay for a car-fleet face lift. Current Mayor Sandy Stimpson does not. He has let it be known that “the coming budget year will determine whether [the tax increase] stays” or goes and that he hopes it will go. Still, he concedes that Chief Barber is right, “[W]e need to be purchasing 100 cars a year.” In addition to police cars, the city needs new Fire Rescue Trucks and Public Works.
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