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Commissioners hold public hearing on new law and justice tax

Wednesday morning, Yakima County commissioners held a public hearing to consider an ordinance that will approve the three-tenths of 1 percent law and justice sales tax, which was approved by voters last month.

The ordinance states that the funds collected will be used for criminal justice purposes, including to help fund the Sheriff's Office, the prosecuting attorney's office and superior, juvenile and district courts, as well as law enforcement agencies throughout the county.

According to the ordinance, the sales tax increase will apply to everything that sales tax is applicable to with the exception of the sale of new or used motor vehicles and the lease of a motor vehicle for up to the first 36 months.

The ordinance also places a sunset date on the sales tax increase, with the Law and Justice Tax being effective from Jan. 1, 2005 through Dec. 31, 2010.

Yakima County Sheriff Ken Irwin noted that the county will not begin to see any of the funds from the sales tax increase until June 2005, and that the Sheriff's Office will refrain from hiring any new officers until that point.

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