4-13 edit

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Earlier this year, the Marengo County Commission seemingly took a tough situation and made it tougher for us to understand. A proposed 1-cent sales tax, which received little pre-passage publicity, moved through county government straight to Montgomery.

Last week, a few members of the commission addressed concerns about the impact of such a sales tax — especially how the tax would affect manufacturers and car dealers in this county.

Apparently, a member of the state’s Montgomery delegation indicated he would place an amendment on the sales tax bill defining how much car dealers and manufacturers would pay in sales tax. That number, local business leaders hoped, would limit the amount of tax industries and car buyers would pay in Marengo County.

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Almost a month ago, the sale tax bill was introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives. And though local bills such as this normally receive little debate, we believe discussions over that amendment have caused the bill to briefly stall in the Alabama Senate.

According to Marengo County Commission Chairman Max Joiner, the debate over placing an amendment on the sales tax bill has been resolved, and the bill is primed to pass through the entire state legislature.

To most residents of Marengo County, this seems like a bunch of bureaucratic nonsense. The governmental meanderings of a tax bill seem about as intriguing as group of paleontologists discussing the chemical compound of a dinosaur.

While the details of a tax bill may seem unnecessary, we believe citizens should remain informed on this bill and the path it takes toward passage.

Car dealers and industries in Marengo County need no disadvantages when it comes to doing business. For that matter, no business in Marengo County needs an extra disadvantage. Not having adequate major highways is tough enough already.

According to commissioners who spoke publicly about the final version of this one-cent sales tax increase, it seems apparent that businesses and industries involved have come to a common ground. Joiner said he is happy with the communication government has had with business, and even suggested some of the early tax publicity opened a better line of communication between business and government.

We applaud members of the commission who have worked to appease business and industry in Marengo County. More importantly, we are happy to hear about the increased communication between the two.

As this tax bill passes through Montgomery and becomes a county ordinance, we urge business leaders to remain involved with commissioners. We also encourage commissioners to continue their effort to keep the public involved.

With open dialogue between government and business, there’s never a need to create dinosaurs.