Mayor corrects misunderstanding

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 28, 2003

Mayor Austin Caldwell was the first one to admit his interpretation of Gov. Bob Riley’s tax proposal was incorrect.

Immediately after a story appeared in The Times suggesting that state voters could accept on piece of the tax legislation without approving the rest of the tax legislation, Caldwell discovered he had made an error.

On Sept. 9, Alabama voters will go to the polls to either accept or reject Riley’s tax reform package, which calls for a $1.2 billion tax increase. According to everything the Governor has conveyed, Alabama citizens will not vote on specific tax increases. They will either vote for the whole package or vote against the whole package.

At last week’s Demopolis City Council meeting, Caldwell said the League of Municipalities had informed him about a specific portion of the Riley tax package that could pass on its own. That portion, if passed, would have banned all cities from passing any new taxes on tobacco after the Sept. 9 referendum.

Because of that, Caldwell suggested that the city of Demopolis consider doubling its tobacco tax from four cents to either eight or nine cents.

However, now that the tobacco tax legislation does not stand on its own, Caldwell said he’s not sure how the city council will handle his proposal.

City council member Thomas Moore said he doesn’t feel good about the tax and doesn’t think he’ll support it. Woody Collins admitted he isn’t sure about the tax, yet.

Ronnie O’Neal said he doesn’t like the idea of raising more taxes.