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Sunset Island Transit's tax increase
On Aug. 18 we voters are going to be asked to approve a three-tenths of one percent sales tax increase to keep Island Transit operating at the current level of service. The downturn in the economy has caused a dramatic reduction in revenue for the system. The options are: reduce service, institute a fare for riding the bus, or increase the sales tax.
My Republican values normally are against any tax increase, particularly when I presently do not utilize the service. However, there are two things I need to consider. First, I am 65-years-old and may need the paratransit service sometime in the future. It may be in my best interest to keep the system fully functional. Secondly, when the economy does turn around the price of gasoline will go, in my opinion, to $5 a gallon and beyond. At some point the price of fuel will make me reconsider using the bus. I then would like a fully functional system.
Implementing a fare system would need careful study. The infrastructure needed would be pricey, require additional personnel and may be cost prohibitive. Depending on the amount of the fare, spending a dollar to collect two cents may not be a very wise investment.
I suggest a compromise. Put a sunset clause on the tax increase, and then look at our needs and options again three years from now. I would vote for the tax increase with a sunset clause.