Charleston Mayor Danny Jones believes his proposal to cut some taxes while raising others is the best way for the city to pay for renovations to the aging Civic Center despite another local official's opposition.
City Treasurer Vic Grigoraci discussed the plan during a public hearing Monday night during the regularly scheduled council meeting.
Jones is proposing a half-cent city sales tax to pay for renovations to the Civic Center. He is also proposing to roll back the business and occupation tax on retail from .5 percent to .35 percent.
Jones is also proposing the elimination of the city's B&O tax on manufacturing.
The reduction in retail B&O would cost the city $2.25 million annually. The elimination of the manufacturing B&O would result in a loss of about $350,000 a year.
However, the new city sales tax is projected to generate about $6.17 million annually. So the city would net about $3.5 million a year to pay for the renovations.
Grigoraci said that although he supports implementing the half-cent sales tax, he opposes reducing and eliminating the city's B&O taxes on retail and manufacturing.
He believes the city could use the other $2.6 million generated by the sales tax to pay off the unfunded pension liabilities in the firefighter and police plans.
"I do not support giving up this money," he said. "Imagine what we could do with that money."
Not only could the city pay off its unfunded pension liabilities much quicker, it could also invest in other city-owned facilities and parks, Grigoraci said. The funds could also be used to help fund construction of a new public library, he added.
But Jones believes his proposal is the "best package."
"We don't just want to increase people's taxes," Jones said. "We want to give some tax relief."
Jones believes eliminating the B&O tax on manufacturing will show companies Charleston is serious about encouraging growth in the city.
"We want manufacturers to know that if they locate here, we're not going to charge them," he said.