Monday the Monroe County Council approved an increase in the county option income tax. On a vote of six to one, the council voted to raise the tax to one dollar and four cents for each 100 dollars of taxable income. The current rate is one dollar for every 100 dollars in taxable income. The additional 920 thousand dollars in revenue would be used to fund county youth services.
County council members say that will allow them to reallocate money now spent on youth services to other areas, such as raises for county employees or investments in staffing for the county jail. Council member Marty Hawk was the sole dissenting vote, saying her colleagues were using a loophole in state law to circumvent a freeze on the county levy.
Hawk also complained that if the county were to increase the income tax further to pay for public safety, the amount would total a fifty percent increase in local income taxes. Council member Vic Kelson took issue with Hawk’s claim, saying the legislative intent in approving the optional income tax increase was precisely to fund the operation of a juvenile services facility.
Council President Michael Woods was even more direct in opposing Hawk’s position. Hawk also opposed the measure on the grounds that the county option income tax council hadn’t yet met to consider possible increases, and might hike the income tax even more for other purposes.