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lettertotheeditor


Jablonski lauds Loder

Dear Editor:



I had the great opportunity to meet with Mr. Ross Loder, deputy director of the Tennessee Municipal League. He was gracious enough to come to the town of Farragut and explain the very complex issue of revenue sharing from the state.

Mr. Loder met with me at dinner to explain the implications of the shared tax cuts in the 2003 state budget. He then attended the (Farragut Board of) Mayor and Aldermen’s meeting in Farragut, at the request of Mayor (Eddy) Ford, in order to impart the same information to the Farragut board and the citizens.

Revenue sharing resources come from nine different areas; the top three sources are: sales and use tax, gasoline tax and the Hall Income Tax. Each area has its own formulation for collection and distribution.

I discovered that in the 2003 state budget, the major cut of 33 percent was made in the Hall Income Tax and that no cuts were made in the tax derived from the tax on gasoline.

I also learned that 8.1 percent of all revenue sharing was cut on the city portion and that only 1.8 percent was cut on the county portion. Although this amounted to $35.5 million dollars being retained by the state it was a minimal amount in each community. Smaller communities with smaller budgets felt the loss of revenue more than larger communities.

One disturbing revelation was that, in the restoration of the shared taxes back to the communities, there is movement afoot to change the formula for distribution. The first change is to be made by transferring one-eighth share from the city/county side of the ledger to the state side for the Hall Income Tax. So, the local distribution has fallen from three-eighths to one-fourth, while the state share has increased from five-eighths to three-fourths. This is not significant to rural communities but will impact larger and more affluent communities.

The second movement to change revenue sharing is to reduce the share to communities that do not have a property tax. If this is enacted it will definitely impact the town of Farragut. I think that it is unconscionable for the legislature to take punitive action on a governmental entity because they are able to conduct their business without imposing additional taxes on their citizens. If this revenue sharing change takes place it will affect 84 cities in the state of Tennessee; Farragut is just one.



Sincerely,

Diane B. Jablonski

Farragut

 

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