50% Tax Break Given

Loudon County is struggling with falling revenues. No money for the school building program. Loudon County property owners are starring down the barrel of a double digit property tax increase in the very near future. So what can commission do? How about a 50% tax break for a local industry? Reality is stranger than fiction.

Back in March, EDA director, Pat Phillips, proposed to commission the 50% property tax break idea for a proposed expansion of the Tate Lyle plant in Loudon. At that time several commissioners raised concerns about such a large tax break with the economy in such bad shape. Some commissioners who were facing opposition in the upcoming elections really wanting nothing to do with the tax break.

At Monday's commission meeting, the first meeting since the election and before the new commissioners and mayor take their seats, with no discussion, no explanations, a majority of commissioners voted to give the 50% tax break for five years to Tate Lyle. Total cost to Loudon County tax payers? More than $185,000.00. Who will have to pick up the tax short fall? You will. Only Commissioner Austin Shaver and Earlena Maples voted no.

Think about it. The idea hadn't been mentioned since March, it wasn't discussed at the last workshop, but the item just shows up on the commission agenda. And passes. It's absolutely beyond my mental capacity to understand this kind of logic.

Commission has a history of making deals to giveaway your tax dollars. Just about a year and a half ago, commission gave virtually the same deal to Kimberly-Clark and we all remember the $400,000.00 giveaway to Thunder Thorton for his new gated road for the now defunct Tennessee National.  Yet, yet, commission has consistently refused to adopt the Senior Citizen Tax Freeze passed  overwhelmingly by the voters.

So where do the tax breaks end? Can anybody get one? Let's say you're going to be doing a big addition to your house. You'll be providing jobs, spending lots of money locally and the value of your home will increase dramatically. So under commission's logic, they should give you a five year, 50% tax break. I see no difference.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.