LETTER: An open letter to the Fiscal Court on tax increases

Published 10:06 am Wednesday, September 16, 2020

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I understand that the Jessamine County Fiscal Court is one vote away from enacting the largest annual property tax increase that the law will allow.

Yes. It is “only” 4 percent. But it is still the maximum, and it begs the question: How high would you go, if the law weren’t a limiting factor?

I also understand that your rationale for such an increase is to allow the county to make contributions toward its pension obligation, even though the requirement of the county to make that contribution has been removed for 2020 because of the coronavirus impact on the county’s budget.

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Yet, the Fiscal Court does not see its way to extend the grace of that delay to its constituents.

At a time when many businesses are struggling to survive — having furloughed and laid off many employees who cannot even collect their unemployment benefits — is now the time to be raising taxes on those folks?

Families are burdened with medical expenses and even funeral expenses because of the virus.

Schools are closed, placing even more burdens on young families as they search for ways to provide care and teaching assistance for their kids who are now at home 24/7.

The members of the Fiscal Court and I may be able to afford an increase of “only” 4 percent on our property taxes, but for many others, any increase represents an added burden during a time of relentless burdens.

Is now the time to be raising taxes? Does that action pass the “red face” test?

Please recall that only last year, the Fiscal Court levied a tax on insurance premiums that added nearly 10 percent annually to the cost of insuring everything from homes to cars.

That tax, plus this increase in property taxes only a year later, will combine to easily add $600 per year to my personal tax burden.

Spin it anyway you like, but $600 in added taxes with no tangible benefit is a burden.

I sincerely and respectfully request that the Fiscal Court show some empathy for what your constituents are dealing with in 2020, and forego any tax or fee increases until the burdens created by the coronavirus are meaningfully lifted.

Surely the members of the Fiscal Court can manage your way to that worthy goal.

Rick Music

Jessamine Count