Pike County institutes new taxes

Bill Deskins

PIKEVILLE, Ky. — Pike County government leaders passed an occupational and business net profit tax to be effective immediately.

Tuesday night members of the Pike County Fiscal Court met at a special-called meeting to assess the proposed occupational tax with an attached business net profit tax. The new taxes will take one cent out of every dollar earned. The Members of Pike County Fiscal Court passed the tax into legislation with a unanimous vote of 7-0.

Judge Bill Deskins said, “if this tax hadn’t passed by 12:00 tonight, the county would have shut down without a budget.”

Groups who supported the tax and those who opposed it were in attendance to voice their opinions. The taxes were proposed during last weeks Fiscal Court meeting but failed to reach fruition. Those opposed to the taxes argue that they don’t have the money to give, while those who support the tax say that the money has to come from somewhere.

The members of the Pike County Fiscal Court proposed these taxes to offset a growing $1.7 million dollar deficit left from the absence of Coal Severance money. Without coal as the cornerstone of the surrounding economy, measures must be taken to provide for future economical growth. The city of Pikeville already institutes a two percent occupational and restaurant tax that allows the city to operate with in a designed budget. These basic accounting tactics are nothing new, up until the recent Bush Administration, American Leaders had always instituted a baseline War Tax to offset the cost of a War. These taxes are no different, they are a necessity, officials believe .

The opposition argues that spending cuts could be made with in the system, and County officials agree. Magistrate Bobby Varney, from District 6, said, “We will still continue to trim the fat of county spending.”

Had the taxes not passed, a multitude of county services would be placed on the chopping block and evaluated for an unpredictable length of termination. Those services would include Solid Waste, Senior Citizen services and the magistrates offices as well. Now that the taxes can provide some breathing room for the budget, County Officials can focus on improving these services instead of terminating them. Spending cuts could be made within the system, but officials believe these cuts will not equal an acceptable amount of revenue, so the occupational and business net profit taxes provide that revenue.

“For us to move forward, the responsibility is on the Fiscal Court, the residents and businesses of Pike County need to know that we will not misuse their money,” Magistrate Varney said.

Some feel there have been issues in the past from previous Pike County administrations on the mishandling of funds, Magistrate Varney wants to move past those concerns. “If things are not better in two years then I will resign from office, that’s how much I believe in the direction we are moving,” added Varney.

These actions have allowed the Pike County Fiscal Court to adopt an Emergency 2015-2016 budget in order to continue operation.

The business net profit tax will work the same as the occupational tax with the exception of collection. Businesses will be able to file for extensions, like they always have been able to, before paying taxes owed. The one percent tax will not be due until either the normal tax time of April 15, or after the businesses approved extension reaches its end.

The occupational tax will be deducted from the paychecks of people working within Pike County.

While the major political scene surrounding coal and its future continues to teeter, areas affected by these major economical decisions are struggling to survive. Many citizens are in a wait and see mode on whether these taxes will be a move in right direction.

It remains to be seen.

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