Montgomery City Councilman looks to suspend sales tax

Montgomery, Ala. (WSFA) -- In a season where stretching your dollar is paramount, everyone is trying to make the most of a sagging economy.

"Everybody's cutting corners now, and there needs to be more money for the consumers," said Freddie Porterfield, a Montgomery resident.

Montgomery City Councilman Willie Cook wants leaders to step in.

He's proposing lifting the City's 3.5% sales tax for one week, starting December 20th and going back to normal the day after Christmas.

"It will increase spending which will in turn help local businesses and in turn will save jobs," Cook said.

Some local stores--hurting because of slow sales--welcome the idea.

"I think it would get a lot of customers feeling comfortable with the sales tax not being so high and they'd be willing to buy more things, especially since Christmas is around the corner," said Dominique Elston, a sales associate at Hibbetts Sports in Montgomery.

Shoppers--trying not to skimp this Christmas--say every penny counts.

"Every little bit is going to help us.  I know my family would be appreciative if they lift it up," said Montgomery resident Paul Mielke.

What about the city?  Montgomery is already cutting back and hemorrhaging sales tax revenue.  The latest figures show a 9.4% drop from last year.

Though the numbers are bleak, Cook says the move may help Montgomery in the long run.

"If you want people to go out and spend money, the government actually needs to take their hands out of people's pockets," he explained.

Other city council members tell WSFA 12 News they haven't seen the ordinance at this point. They won't discuss it until Tuesday's work session at the earliest.

Also, the new proposal needs a unanimous vote to suspend the rules and pass the measure.  If that doesn't happen, the next time the ordinance would be up for a vote would be in January.

Some council members say the proposal contradicts other tax and fee increases recently passed by the council.

City leaders should vote on the measure next Tuesday.