There are no opinion polls being conducted on the issue as such in Mobile on what the public thinks about the Mayor's proposed one cent sales tax increase. An increase that if passed would raise the sales tax in the city to a whopping 10 percent. But, if the comments sections of the various news outlet web-sites offer any insight it's that most of the citizenry are skeptical of it at best and downright hostile to it at worst.
At 9 percent Mobile already has one of the highest rates of sales tax for any city of any size. Chicago, Illinois is a city with an estimated population of 2,896,016, which according to the US census ranks it at number 3 in population. It has a combined sales tax of 9.5%. New York City according the census ranks at number 1 with a population of 8,008,278. Its combined rate of sales tax is 8.75%.
Mobile on the other hand ranks at number 91 with an estimated population of 198,915. Other cities comparable in size are Chesapeake City, VA, population, 199,184, sales tax rate, 5.0%. Des Moines, Iowa, population 198,682, carries a combined sales tax rate of 6.00%.
Those facts perhaps are what motivate comments such as the one posted by, enoughisenough, on the Press-Register's website, "NO MORE TAXES!!!.............NO COMPROMISE!! There are more financially responsible municipalities...that have better services, operate on less revenue, and are certainly more efficient."
Of the 36 comments posted to its’ article on local ministers who support the tax increase, not one expressed anything like support. In fact more than a little irritation can be read into the very idea that area preachers would be so vocal in their support.
The closest one might come to finding any expression of support for the tax is a comment posted at WKRG TV 5's web-site following their story about former Mobile Mayor Mike Dow's support of the tax increase. A reader named Jim Mather's posted this, " I agree that we need the city to 'open its books' to an outside forensic audit and for a release of a detailed item by item budget for the people, media and all interested parties to review."
Finally, on its’ web-site, FM Talk 106.5 has an ongoing poll where the questioned is posed, "What will Mobile’s city council do on the sales tax vote?" Of the respondents to that poll, 23% said the city council will vote in a less than one percent increase, 23% said the council will not vote in any increase and 53% thought the council will vote in the tax increase anyway, presumably over any public objection.
The public in Mobile will have a chance to weigh in officially on the matter at a forum scheduled for tonight. According to Mobile’s official web-site, "The Mobile City Council will hold a Public Forum on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at Government Street Baptist Church (3401 Government Street) starting at 6 p.m. The forum will give council members an opportunity to get feedback from the public regarding the Mayor's proposed one cent sales tax increase."