Both the mayor and the voters of Jackson may have just learned a really important lesson. This lesson is that there can be a very stark difference between campaigning and governing.
During his campaign, Jackson mayor Chokwe Lumumba vowed not to raise taxes. He took this position because in a city like Jackson where almost a third of its population lives in poverty, tax increases are essentially regressive and low income families would endure the brunt of the blow.
Mayor Lumumba has pivoted on his position and now believes that pursuing a one-cent sales tax option is necessary for Jackson’s sustainability and infrastructure repairs.
Before the one-cent sales tax option is placed in the hands of Jackson voters, the city council must vote to call a referendum. (Full Clarion Ledger article)
It doesn’t stop there.
The Lumumba administration has also proposed a “one time” tax increase for the 2013-2014 fiscal year that seems to be supported by the Jackson City Council. Taxpayers are not likely to feel the increase due to a temporary tax cut by Jackson Public Schools because of debt refinancing.
Jackson water/sewer ratepayers could also see an increase in their water and sewer bills.
“If approved by the council, the average monthly sewer bill would more than double under the proposal from $15.06 to $31.33, while the average water bill would increase by about a third, from around $15 to $21, said Rick Hill, deputy administrator for the city.” (Full Clarion Ledger article)
This raises a few questions: Since Mayor Lumumba served on the Jackson City Council for four years prior to being elected mayor, should he have known about the financial woes of the city? If so, should he have made more realistic campaign promises?
Time will tell if his overwhelming victory on June 4th will carry over to support of the one-cent sales tax hike that must be voted on by Jackson voters.