Student senate talks sales tax, Hong Kong presenter

Samuel Nusbaum, Administration Reporter

Student Senate discussed the upcoming visit of an official from Hong Kong, feedback about Pantherpalooza and about a sales tax that will be on the November ballot.

The president of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, will be coming to Eastern for a lecture 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Paris Room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Catie Witt, student body president, said all the major parties have gotten behind him and said this is a rare occurrence.

“In a time in our country where we want everyone in our country to be bipartisan, we are not,” Witt said. “So it will be interesting to see (Yok’s) viewpoints and how he got all them to collaborate together and basically agree on one guy which never happens here.”

The senate voted and agreed to go to this presentation instead of holding a meeting.

Matt Titus is an Eastern graduate and is part of Citizens for Coles Counties Schools, which is a campaign whose goal is to pass a 1 percent sales tax increase, and this would go towards school infrastructure and paying off school debt.

It is aimed for schools that house kindergarten through 12th grade. He said voter registration is down from 2012 numbers in what he calls “Eastern precincts.”

He said the 1 percent sales tax will be added onto the current sales tax of 6.75 percent, bringing it up to 7.75 percent.

The 1 percent tax would be distributed to the local schools by enrollment between the Charleston, Mattoon and Oakland schools.

Titus said the 1 percent sales tax increase has been brought up twice before, once in 2010 and once in 2014, and it failed both times.

He said he wanted to hear about what kind of activities the senate had planned for voter registration.

Executive Vice President Maralea Negron said they will have an informational meeting on voting Tuesday, Oct. 4., to follow the meeting the senate had Monday.

Negron said this one would focus more on the platforms instead of the history of the parties.

She said people will be registered after the informational is done.

She also said a poll would be sent out to the students, but it has to be approved first by the vice president of student affairs.

“In the poll, I was thinking you could even include the referendum to see a preliminary how they might vote on that,” Negron said. “Other than that, we really don’t have that much planned besides getting informed.”

Witt said she met with people from the Health Education Resource Center about the It’s On Us Campaign.

Ideas they came up with include a video that may involve faculty members. She asked for senators to join the It’s On Us Campaign committee.

“We meet about once or twice a month, probably more if there is an event coming up. We mainly just deal with planning those events and meeting with people from the HERC and the sexual assault prevention team,” Witt said.

Witt said she has heard people outside of the senate express interest in joining the committee and she urges the senators to spread the word about the available positions.

Negron congratulated all the senators who went through sorority recruitment and passed a sheet around for senators to sign up for the voter registration drive.

She said the senate will pair up with Alpha Phi Alpha and the Political Science Association.

Negron said she reached out to several groups, but these are the two that seem the most interested.

Samuel Nusbaum can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]