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Proposal on sales tax won't happen this year

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A proposal to change a sales tax law to give Gwinnett more revenue won't happen in 2010.

Chairman Charles Bannister has championed the idea to modify the local option sales tax law, which requires local governments to roll back property taxes in exchange for sales tax revenue.

Bannister wants to change the law to allow a roll back of 50 percent, instead of the required 100 percent, which he said is often abused.

"The legislature let the people down again," Bannister said Monday, after the General Assembly failed to vote on a bill prior to Friday's Crossover Day. Legislative rules require any bill to pass at least one chamber by the 30th day of the session.

Bannister's proposal faced opposition by municipal leaders, and he said legislators likely didn't give it full attention since only three counties currently do not use a local option sales tax or another form of sales tax.

"It's hard for me to get the message out," he said.

With the county struggling along with the state and other governments due to a down economy, Bannister pointed to a recent public opinion poll that showed residents support using a sales tax.

But he said the current law is too flawed, adding that he hopes something will come up to lead to a change in the next several years.

"It's a huge issue," he said.