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Editorial: Bollinger tax questions

Friday, January 16, 2009

A new state audit in Bollinger County has again raised an issue that not only needs to be addressed by county officials, but also could use a review by state officials and legislators.

During a previous audit in 2004, it was noted that Bollinger County has levied -- with voter approval -- sales taxes that exceed the state-mandated half-cent limit. The county has a 1989 half-cent tax, a 2006 eighth-cent tax and another half-cent tax approved in 2003 and renewed in 2007. Combined, these taxes generated $670,000 in 2007. The rural county has a budget of $2.2 million. The county has another half-cent sales tax authorized by a different section of state statutes.

The county did not deliberately violate the state law on tax limits, and eliminating any of the taxes would have a serious impact on county revenue.

Since the problem was first noted four years ago, the county has continued to collect revenue from all the taxes without finding a quick fix. State officials haven't interfered. The auditor's office has no enforcement powers. The Department of Revenue is only responsible for collecting and remitting taxes. The attorney general's office hasn't been in touch.

The state needs a clarification of its statutes on this matter. Perhaps there needs to be a Hancock Amendment-type limit for county taxes. That amendment limits growth in state revenue and requires tax cuts if the limit is exceeded rather than limiting rates.

Bollinger County voters have expressed their willingness to pay the taxes currently being collected. Now a reasonable way of sorting all this out needs to be found.

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This has been going on for four years? Yet they knew about it. Sounds like Bollinger County! The county clerk should be ashamed to show her face. Yet you have W. Johnson siting there saying we are not going to do anything about it and will continue to take it. With the other commissioners sitting there looking on with nothing to say!

The whole bunch needs to resign.

Yes, the county needs the money. But don't they call that stilling!

Oh, forgive me. I'm forgetting one great thing.

They are, honest, truthful, God fearing, Morley, Holy, Republicans!

Now I understand!

-- Posted by Sky1 on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 11:35 AM

"Bollinger County voters have expressed their willingness to pay the taxes currently being collected."

Assuming that the above statement is in reference to the voting in of more taxes in the past, rather than what voters might think now about the issue: If the voters had been advised that they were voting for something against the law, which might come back to haunt them, would they still have voted 'Yes! Let's have higher taxes!'? If so ... then not only the county officials but county residents are above the law, as long as breaking it benefits them?

It's rather shameful that this has been known for several years, and evidently nothing brought up or done about it, by either the state or the county. Perhaps we could present a bill to pass a no-limit-on-taxation, to make it all legal and prevent this type of thing happening in the future as our governments want more of our tax dollars.

So now ... we have several 'reasons/excuses' from politicians and the media to convince taxpayers that it's okay to pay excessive taxes, even if it's illegal, right? Sort of walking a mighty fine line here ... which could lead one to suspect a precedent might be set for the future.

-- Posted by gurusmom on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 5:17 PM

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