Sales tax is terrible approach

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 22, 2004

I do not make a habit of replying to newspaper articles, but this case is the exception. The article was “Joiner believes tax is only option for Marengo.”

It appears that the Marengo County Commissioners have lost sight of the fact that they were elected to look out for the best interest of the citizens of Marengo County to include the properties and businesses there within. In most cases, what is the first thing politicians want to do when they are first elected to office or trials and hardships come knocking at their door. Ninety-nine percent of the readers most likely answered this question correctly with the words, new tax or taxes.

Of course in Marengo County this word, taxes, is not new, but it has been spoken of often these past couple of weeks. One of the first planks in a politician’s platform is, “NO NEW TAXES, NO NEW TAXES.” What do they do when they do get elected; they either vote themselves a raise and/or raise taxes. Both contrary to their promises.

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It is easy for the Marengo County Commissioners to feel they don’t have an ample supply of money to operate our county on because they have an abundant supply of people living within it’s boundaries with little regard as to what the financial abilities or disabilities of these citizens are.

With a little effort, a phone call to Montgomery or self imposing, and a snap of their finger they can pass a new tax (sales tax) for additional revenue to cover their pet projects. If this is not the case, why can’t they tell the citizens of this county what and why a new tax is needed?

1. What exactly is the new tax needed for and then use it for that, not for whatever the commissioners want to use it for.

2. Why do the citizens of Marengo County need a new sales tax invoked upon them?

I would like to comment on a quote found in your paper dated, Tuesday January 20, 2004. “It’s not hard to tell that we have level funding, at best, said Joiner” (Max Joiner; Chairperson, Marengo County Commission). Many citizens of this county and this state are on Social Security, retired, or live on some other type of fixed income and have to adjust many times and have to re-adjust in order to fall in line with Mr. Joiner’s quote, living within level funding.

They continue to do the best they can with what they have in order to survive knowing there is little if any hope of receiving increases or raises to their fixed-income to help them make ends meet, much less get a little ahead. The sad thing is when these citizens do receive these small increases to their fixed-income, Medicare supplement(s), health insurance, and other vital necessities increase more than the little raise they supposedly received.

Yes, even new taxes help diminish this little increase causing a shortfall for this individual and his/her family.

Question Mr. Commissioners, where does the $$$$ BUCK $$$$ STOP? Mr. Commissioner, how about telling these fine citizens that entrusted their hopes and dreams for Marengo County into your hands where they can obtain the needed funds for them to have “Level Funding” or in simple terms, “Hold their own.”

It appears that the Marengo County Commissioners need a wake-up call or a get out of office vote by the citizens who put them there. The citizens of Marengo County elected these commissioners to office and as sure as the Almighty God lets the sun rise each morning these same people can unelect them.

Hopefully the commissioners are open for suggestions but in the event they are not, here goes anyway.

1. First, stop providing transportation for the county employees to and from work with the exception of law enforcement officials and those individuals who are on call or week-end duty. Yes I know, you are saying we do not pay our county employees a lot. Maybe so, but they make at least minimum wage or better.

Do you know how many people work in Marengo County that make minimum wage? How about below minimum wage? Well, I don’t either, but how many of them are provided with transportation to and from work?

2. Stop furnishing cell phones. The employees nor the commissioners need this modern wonder at the expense of the citizens of Marengo County.

3. The County Commissioners need to seek out any and all possible ways to cut the fat before thinking about imposing a new tax on the citizens of Marengo County.

4. Let the citizens of Marengo County vote on any new tax. Let their voice be heard. Whatever happened to “Of the people, for the people, and By the people.”

One last thing, Mr. Joiner stated the “sales tax” was the necessary decision if Marengo County ever wants to grow. Well Mr. Joiner and other commissioners, when can we expect to see growth in Marengo County? I have lived in Marengo County for nearly 50 years and have heard this statement and similar ones many times over with very little growth, if any, to be seen.

If the truth was known, our county has probably lost more jobs in the past 20 years than it has gained. The citizens of Marengo County deserve answers. When is growth going to come to our county? When are the jobs going to come to our county where those that want to work can work?

The citizens of Marengo County do not ask for a great deal, but the least the county commissioners can do is be as responsible for what has been entrusted to them as they possibly can.

The new sales tax is needed so operations can continue as usual is what I hear being said. Impose this new tax if you wish. This will only be another dagger to drive new industry farther away from Marengo County.

By the way, Meridian, Selma, Thomasville and Tuscaloosa will welcome with open arms the good citizens of Marengo County to shop in their cities — and on a regular basis.