Property Tax Increase And Wheel Tax

Loudon County residents may be about to take a double tax whammy. According to county sources, county commissioners are looking to raise property taxes for a second time in as many years. This time 8 cents. On top of that commission is also considering a $25 wheel tax. All in the name of education. The 8 cent increase is expected to generate an additional one million dollars per year in taxes.

Commissioners have two options for implementing a wheel tax. Option 1, with a two thirds (7) majority vote of the commissioners, they can enact the tax themselves. Option 2, commission can vote to put the question of a wheel tax on the ballot to allow the voters to decide. If commission chooses option 1, citizens can force the wheel tax to a referendum vote with a petition. The petition would require 1677 signatures of registered Loudon County voters.  That's 10% of those who cast their ballots in the county in the last gubernatorial election.  It must be filed within thirty days of the final passage of the resolution.

In 2004, Knox County Commission passed a $30 Wheel Tax that was immediately attacked by the citizens. The citizens petition drive was met with what some considered political extortion by the Knox County Commission. Commissioners passed a motion that if the wheel tax was voted down by the voters, commission would then enact a massive property tax increase. Knox voters narrowly passed the wheel tax.

In 2005, Loudon County commission passed a 21 cent property tax increase claiming government poverty and now their back asking for more plus the wheel tax. The Loudon County Board Of Education has consistently ask for more and more money. But at no time has commission or the school board ever looked for avenues to cut waste.

If commission votes on their own to implement a wheel tax with out allowing the voters to decide, it's a safe bet a petition drive will be undertaken to force the question to the ballot box.

If county commissioners and school board members really believe there is a need for a wheel tax, then put it to the voters to decide.  Let the commissioners and board members take their case to the voters. If voters are convinced the need for the wheel tax is there, they will support it. If the case can not be made, the voters will reject the tax. It's the American way.