Possible Tax Increase for July 2007

Beginning July 1, 2007, you could see a rise in your insurance premiums.

The Warren Fiscal Court unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance to start charging an insurance premium tax. The Warren County Budget, Finance and Revenue Committee recommended the tax after looking for ways to increase the county's revenue.

Judge Executive Mike Buchanon said the county was facing a deficit of more than $3 million due to federal and state mandated but unfunded projects. Buchanon also said this tax would bring in an estimated $4.5 million annually, and that the tax is a fair solution because the burden is distributed to all the citizens of Warren County. Although, health insurance premiums would not be taxed.

"We just felt this was a way of diversifying our revenue resources and I think the rest of the fiscal court determined this was the best route," Buchanon said.

Several non-profit organizations were in attendance at the meeting. WBKO's Lauren Hanson took a look at what their concerns were.

When non-profit organizations heard that the county was facing a deficit they worried that the fiscal court might cut their funding. Representatives from a few of the organizations commented on what a cut to funding would mean for their organizations, which could range from an organization closing their doors to raising rates. However, they learned their funding was safe for another year.

Even though non-profit organizations now know their funding is safe many, like the Community Education, still feared the opposite outcome.

"Community Education would have continued to exist as an agency, but it would have cost more for our parents to have their children in safe environments after school," said Debi Jordan with Community Education.

Community Education is a non-profit organization that provides classes to children before school, after school and during school breaks. It also provides education for adults.

"(Community Education) gives adults in our community the opportunity to take classes for an interest they happen to have, or if they're trying to test the waters about going back to school, getting their feet wet with a non-credit course."

The funding from the Warren County Fiscal Court for Community Education and other non-profits seems to be safe for another year. However, Jordan said it's a topic that's always on their minds.

"You have to be ever vigilant about this because funding is tight everywhere."

The second reading for the insurance premium tax is March, 19, 2007, at 9 a.m. at a specially called fiscal court meeting. If it passes that reading the tax will take effect on July 1, 2007.

To view a copy of Warren County's Budget, Finance and Revenue committee's report click here.