In April 14 Issue
The Russell County Judge Executive and magistrates continue to be the target of discussion as the payroll tax and net profit tax issue remains on the table.
It is difficult for this court to all at once convince everyone this tax increase is needed when the track record of successful business decisions in the past few years has not been so positive.
The past few couple of meting have also left us wondering just how informed the court is and how accurate is all the figures we are hearing.
The same is probably true for a lot of us.
The occupational tax is one issue, the net profit tax issue is another. Yet, most see them as one.
Representatives from the state told the court at the previous meeting they did not know of any county that had both taxes in one ordinance, and very few counties actually had a net profit tax.
Many of those paying the payroll tax also feel the businesses should pay their part and the net profit tax should remain.
At this meeting it appeared the court was ready to pass an ordinance that would place one percent net profit tax on every business as well as the occupational tax.
After listening to Terry Stephens a cap was placed on the net profit side of the ordinance. He explained how this could be devastating to existing businesses and especially devastating to any potential business as they would certainly locate elsewhere without such a tax.
No one knew or could even imagine how much this would cost businesses or produce in tax revenue for the county.
Stephens also stated the county would likely be flooded with lawsuits as larger businesses were not going to turn their tax records over to the county.
The present tax ordinance is estimated to generate some $1.6 million.
It has been stated the county needs an estimated $1.2 million to get out of the hole.
W e can understand the county is in a hard situation and certainly needs additional revenue. But we have to say it does leave a little sour taste when it appears the way to solve any government problem is just simply add on the taxes.
This issue could have taken another route entirely, if the public and county leaders were better informed or involved in the process.
At the meeting this week, Gene Royalty, Industrial Authority director spoke to the court and explained also the working relationship and atmosphere between industry and government was high priority when it comes to locating industry.
Other business leaders, Randy Hart, Ivan Bennett, Brian Walters, along with Terry Stephens also expressed their concern about the tax issue.
Stephens again suggested to the court they present a business plan of exactly how much money they needed and for what purpose.
We have to agree with Stephens, perhaps a plan, a discussion, and a meeting with county leaders and business leaders could find a common ground.