As a commissioner for the city of Corbin, there have been few issues more galling and aggravating for me than the occupational tax situation in the Knox County portion of the city.
Much attention is given to the fact that the occupational tax rate on the wages of workers in that part of our town is 2 percent, when it is only 1 percent if you happen to work in the Whitley County side. We’ve reported on this at length. It’s well covered territory.
I’ve come to accept the fact that for the time being Corbin will just have to play the cards it is dealt.
That’s bad enough.
But what is particularly irksome is that taxpayers there are actually PAYING TAXES THEY DON’T EVEN OWE!
Money is literally being stolen right out of their pockets every payday.
And nobody seems to really give a rip.
I was frustrated with this issue even before I took office.
There is a “credit” written into law that allows for workers in the Knox County portion of Corbin to pay just a little less. Right now, it’s .2 percent. So, instead of paying 2 percent on their gross income, it should just be 1.8 percent. A new law, that goes into effect in July, would lock that credit in place for the next two years.
It’s not a FULL credit like those taxpayers truly deserve. But it is something. Except, they aren’t receiving it.
I was frustrated by this issue before even being elected. As a reporter, I pointed out what was going on, but was ignored. It was one of several reasons I decided to run for office, idealistically thinking I could make a difference.
After being sworn in, I asked for a legal interpretation on the issue. Turns out, those taxpayers are entitled to that credit.
The city did send letters explaining the situation. That was a major step. I felt good about that at the time. However, few, if any, have done so. I’m told it is for a variety of reasons.
Several have pointed out to me that, for the average employee, it isn’t much money. So, basically, who cares? Too much trouble. That’s the attitude I get all too often. If you make $40,000 annually, we are talking $80. If you think that’s nothing, then by all means please send me $80. You won’t miss it.
Alternately, I am convinced misinformation is being spread, by some, to make employers think the credit does not apply. It does, but no matter. Employers are too scared to give their employees the credit because they are afraid of the county making them pay penalties on top of ill-gotten gains.
The Kentucky Attorney General has been asked to intervene, but instead sits on his pampered duff and does nothing.
Workers continue to lose.
Sadly, I feel like I’m on an island on this issue. No one else seems to care much. You elect people to look out for you and to do the right thing, not fleece you and sell you out.