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Government and Politics

Canton bumps up its sales tax
Voters approve increase of .5 percent to 6.25; still the lowest in the state
This story is part of a special series.

Kabir Bhatia
Stark had the lowest sales tax in the state prior to Tuesday's election. It's now tied for lowest with 5 other counties.
Courtesy of State of Ohio
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Stark County will no longer have the lowest sales tax in the state. Instead, it will have one of the five lowest sales taxes in the state. WKSU's Kabir Bhatia has more on the impact of Tuesday’s election on the county coffers.

Canton bumps up sales tax

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The new 0.5 percent sales tax that voters passed Tuesday will generate about 22 million dollars a year, all of it designated for criminal justice. Without it, the county argued that major cuts would be coming, including reducing the county jail's capacity from 500 to about 125. 

The tax passed 56 to 44 percent thanks voters like Thomas Howell.

“We need it. We need the sales tax to keep the county jail open. All they’re doing is turning everybody away that goes in. As fast as the cop can arrest someone, they’re out before the cop even gets back on the road to do his job.”

Neither of Stark County’s three biggest cities – Canton, Massillon and Alliance – has its own jail. Canton Mayor William Healy is pleased that the new tax passed.

“Certainly it had a big impact on the city of Canton whether that passed or failed.  That's good news for every resident [in the] city of Canton and every resident of Stark County."

County Administrator Mike Hanke says the county simply made its case.

"It was an excellent campaign that was run.  There wasn't really any organized opposition.  I think people realized that the county needs it."

The half percent increase brings Stark County’s sales tax to 6.25 percent.  Lorain County had a quarter-percent sales tax hike on the ballot, which would have raised its tax to 6.5 percent. It lost.

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