The resolution argued that a half-cent sales tax was a form of regressive financing, where poor and middle class people who pay sales taxes on food and other basic household items would be paying a larger percentage of their income than other economic strata. The branch resolution also noted the absence of job guarantees for Jackson County residents in both the construction phase and the operational phase of any new institute. The branch also noted that the 20% of net revenues supposedly set aside for “indigent care, public health and public education,” would be given to the Jackson County Healthcare Foundation, rather than to Jackson County or its residents.
“We are not opposed to a new medical institute, as such” said branch president Anita L. Russell, “but we are opposed to financing it with a tax on those who can least afford to pay for it. Plus, there is no promise that any of the jobs created by any new institute would be for those currently living in Jackson County.”
It should be noted that Freedom Inc., a political organization rooted in the African American community, and the League of Women Voters have already issued statements in opposition to the proposed new sales tax. Both organizations cited the regressive nature of the funding formula in their statements.
NAACP leaders heard presentations from both proponents and opponents of the measure before discussing it in committee. All the NAACP voices went in the same direction: there are no new jobs promised to Jackson County residents who will pay an unfair and oppressive tax for this measure. The answer was no to the proposed measure on the November 5 ballot.
According to Ms. Russell: “The NAACP appreciates those persons and institutions who have already made statements in support of this proposed measure, but we cannot in good faith support it ourselves; and we urge all others to vote no.”