National inflation rates could lead to tax increase for Wichita County

Local News

WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — Wichita County Commissioners discussed a report on the local and national economy.

The report said there was a lack of inflation when it comes to the price of goods.

That lack of inflation on the national economy could result in some budget cutbacks and slight tax increases for Wichita County.

In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, portions of the U.S. economy had to shut down completely.

But with some states fully reopening and others slowly reopening, federal reserve officials are optimistic about the inflation rate rising. And, so are local financial analysts.

“If we could get some inflation in here, that’d be the thing I think on everybody’s monetary and fiscal policy. That’d be the thing that would be the most positive thing that could happen to this economy,” Murphy Davis, Sentry Management, said

It could be a positive but also a negative to Wichita County as County Judge Woody Gossom says inflation is already here locally.

“You’d like to think, if we’re not having inflation then, fuel costs wouldn’t be going up, repairs going up, the road materials are going up. But if we’re looking at commercial operation, costs are up.
That’s what we’re gonna have to allow for and try to look at what things can we cut back,” Gossom said.

As budget talks begin in Wichita County departments, Gossom says tax rates will go down by the statute to bring the same amount of money as the previous year.

But some tax amounts may need a small increase due to the rise of the price of goods and costs.

“We’re gonna need some additional money to continue these construction projects we’re doing and to do a pay raise for our personnel. And, looking at some of these specific expenses that hit road and bridge, we might need to look at a smaller increase in that tax amount,” Gossom said.

The constable offices and sheriff’s office budgets could also receive cutbacks.

The state senate recently passed a bill that would prevent local government from cutting law enforcement budgets without voter approval but that bill must first pass through the house.

“If the year we buy cars, we’re not gonna buy cars necessarily every year, you’ll have large expenses. But if you have to bill that in every year, you’re gonna have to fund that with tax money.
If the legislature and its infinite idiocracy passes that kind of legislation, it’s gonna be difficult to deal with,” Gossom said.

County officials deal with difficult legislation and budget concerns as the pandemic continues to affect small and local government.

Gossom says he plans to finalize the county budget by early August.

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