Group Founded To Oppose County Jails Tax

Better options available, says group's leader

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Leon Keddington and four cohorts don't agree with the half-cent sales tax that the county is asking for to build new justice facilities.

In accordance with his beliefs that there are better options to fund the jail and courthouse, specifically in Payson, Keddington formed a political action committee, Citizens for Fair Taxation.

The committee, newly registered in Gila County, is seeking volunteers, as well as contributions, to campaign in opposition to the method of funding and location of the facilities.

Currently there are only five members in the committee, which Keddington chairs. He said he would prefer not to disclose the other members at this time.

Keddington also said that he hopes more volunteers will get involved, once the word gets out.

"We think there is a better way to finance this project," he said.

In a press release, Keddington said that the group does believe there is a need for new facilities in Payson and Globe.

It is more concerned, however, with the tax increase that Gila County Supervisors are asking taxpayers to approve in November.

"Asking our seniors and young families to pay an additional .5 percent results in a sales tax rate of 9.2 percent in Payson and 9.1 percent in Star Valley, making them amongst the highest in the state," Keddington said in the press release.

"This tax will also put our major local businesses at a competitive disadvantage. It will increase the cost of a $25,000 car by $125," he continued.

Keddington believes that the county government could have come up with other options to fund the project rather, than tax its constituents.

"The county has not considered a full re-examination of the county budget before considering new taxes," he said in the release.

The location that the volunteer facilities planning committee recommended for the Payson site -- an expansion of the current campus on Main Street and Highway 87 -- was recently a part of concept plans the county unveiled last week. Keddington believes there are better locations, which wouldn't coincide with the town's plans to market that corner.

"There are alternative sites available that the county has refused to consider," he said. "One such site is just south of Main Street."

Keddington said that the committee is looking for volunteers and private contributions from individuals. He estimated that $5,000 would be necessary to run a campaign against the county's plans.

As for volunteer responsibilities, Keddington said that they would likely be working to meet people and disseminate information.

"Basically we're going to have an information-type ad print campaign," he said.

For more information, e-mail the Citizens for Fair Taxation at taxsense@yahoo.com.

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