Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Will there be another fight over an increase in the Stark County sales/use tax?

Put another way:  Is the Vote No Increased Taxes Committee like the life of a gnat (lasting 2 to 4 months)?

Even though the "Vote No Increased Taxes Committee" folks say they are not "anti-tax-through-and-through," The Report thinks they are, except in the case of newly elected Fairless School Board member Charles Snyder who favored the Fairless 9.5 levy which Fairless voters defeated 70% to 30% on November 3rd.

As said by yours truly in the past, if voters see a direct benefit in a tax increase, they will vote it.  Snyder saw a direct benefit in Fairless tax issue and therefore supported it.  He did not see one on the 9-1-1/county general fund Issue 5 and consequently he voted no.

The SCPR read on people who consistently "vote No" on tax issues without really examining the merits of a particular issue, are folks that believe "you can have something for nothing."

These same folks demand the impossible of public officials after having denied the officials the resources needed to meet a real but not directly tied to specific individuals (for the most part) public service needs.

The SCPR sees these "we are against all tax increases" types as "knee-jerk" and unthinking for the most part.  There is, however, an exception.


There are all too many Stark Countians without jobs or on fixed incomes who cannot and will not (justifiably) vote for a tax increase - no matter how clear the need is.  And this is how these folks should vote and need to vote as a matter of personal survival.


The SCPR says the "Vote No" committee will morph into a two faceted political entity:

First, to fight the new effort by county officials - led in the background by Judges Charles Brown and Lee Sinclair - to convince voters to agree to a replacement plus an addition (0.5 [0.250 - replacement/0.250 additional] of a percent) sales tax come November, 2010 or May, 2011.

Second, to defeat Commissioner Todd Bosley come November, 2010.

This time the Vote No people will be hampered.  Rather than 9-1-1 being a cover for a general fund tax increase, the approach will be for the "non-partisan" Stark County judiciary to weigh-in on behalf of a new tax.

Already in the works is the creation of a "citizens review committee."  As early as yesterday at a 2:00 p.m. meeting Ferrero et al  were huddled up identifying who would be invited to serve on this committee.  This, too, is an attempt to depoliticize the new sales tax initiative to come. The SCPR would not be surprised to learn that at least one figure in the "Vote No" cohort is invited to be on the citizens committee as an attempt to co-opt out organized opposition.

It was easy pickins for the Vote No campaign to target Commissioner Bosley, Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez and the like.  However, they risk being viewed as being "way-out-there," if they try the same tactics in a de facto judge-led drive for new county revenues.

A person to watch will be Vote No spokesman Craig Conley.  He is an attorney who has to deal with the court system and these judges; not that the SCPR is suggesting that there would be any recriminations.   But it wouldn't appear to be the most comfortable of situations.  Will he want to be associated with a us (Vote No Increased Taxes) against the judges match up? 

The SCPR has learned that there is dissension in the ranks of the Vote No group.  The Report is hearing that after the group of Conley, Marcelli and Snyder left the Stark County commissioners weekly meeting on November 4th, they fell into an argument about the approach employed in their face-to-face with commissioners.

If such is an accurate report, then this "let's agree to disagree" could provide Conley with the opportunity to exit the scene and avoid a showdown with the judges over the new tax issue that will be coming up in 12 to 18 months.

The only place you will hear about the judges of the Stark County Common Pleas Court being involved in the drive for a new sales tax is likely to be the SCPR.

In today's Repository Kelli Young reports on the meeting held by elected officials at the Athens Restaurant yesterday at 7:15 a.m.  It is interesting to note that she does not mention the judges at all.


Well, here is a video of soon-to-be-ex-commissioner Tom Harmon announcing that Prosecutor John Ferrero (at the bidding of Judge Charles Brown) called for the Athens Restaurant meeting.

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