Niagara Gazette

Columns

November 8, 2013

HAMILTON: The 'Calorie Corridor' and county sales tax

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — But, is it fair that the sales tax revenue is divided based upon population?

My initial thought is that it isn’t. But upon further investigation, I have come to believe that it is.

Here’s why. Many of the services that the towns use are in the cities, and many of those services are not fully financially supported by the towns. The libraries that serve many of the people who live in the towns are in the cities, and a pro rata share of funds expended on each user of these facilities are disproportionately placed upon the city residents.

There are many other services and sources that are used by non-city dwellers whose burdens are disproportionately placed upon the cities. Despite the location of the outlet mall, the approaches to it are in other towns and cities. In all cases, these cities and towns that provide access to these mega-sales tax revenue generators are either paid for by the cities and towns, or they consume property that could have otherwise been tax generators themselves.

Additionally, most of the income that is generated by those who live just outside of the cities’ boundaries are overwhelmingly generated within those neighboring cities. Most of the higher-income people who work in the city, and are not compelled to live in the city, live in these nearby towns. They take their city-generated money to those towns, buy property and homes that are assessed much higher than the homes in the cities, and likely generate for these outlying towns far more property tax revenue than what could be had from increasing a share of sales tax.

If I have to say so myself, the sales tax revenue sharing plan is likely not as fair as it could possibly be, but it is as fair as practical, and I would not change it.

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