Richmond Seeks Half-Cent Sales Tax For Fiscal State Of Emergency

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(Adam Jan/AFP/Getty Images)

(Adam Jan/AFP/Getty Images)

RICHMOND (KCBS) – The Richmond City Council declared a state of fiscal emergency Tuesday, and approved language for a half-cent sales tax measure to go before voters.

Proceeds from the sales tax would restore services to the poor and several school district programs, said Roxanne Brown-Garcia, principal at Kennedy High School.

“We’re being heavily hit by budget cuts at the state level. We really need to keep K-12 funding alive,” she said.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

Students like junior Leonard Waldon would not be considering college without the encouragement he got from teachers to stay off the streets and focus on school, Garcia-Brown said.

Waldon poured his energy into classes and sports, and is now weighing offers from several colleges.

“Without education, you wouldn’t be able to do anything,” he said.

The council voted unanimously to declare the fiscal state of emergency, but support for the sales tax was not uniform.

Charles Smith said he would happily write a check for the schools, but he would vote against what he felt was a regressive tax that doesn’t solve the underlying problems with the city budget.

“I will not vote for a tax on people that make less money than me,” Smith said.

Several residents on fixed incomes also spoke out against it.

If the state winds up holding a special election on June 7, the half-cent sales tax would need just a simple majority to pass.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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