Occupational Tax

By: Ryan Dearbone
By: Ryan Dearbone

Three years ago the City Commission decided to raise the occupational tax from 1.5 percent to its current 2 percent.

But now, with the city taxing more than they're spending , the city is looking to cut some of the meat out of the occupational tax.

"We have seen increases in revenue and then when you look at the budget, the budget has not increased dramatically. We were very tight last year in terms of the amount of money we actually allocated," says Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker.

Its that financial iron fist that has the city expecting a 2.7 million surplus at the end of the 2005-2006 fiscal year.

That's also why the City Commission voted on Tuesday to cut the occupational tax from its current 2 percent.

"There's no set figure so it could go from 2 percent to 1.95 or 1.9 or whatever the range is."

The potential drop in the occupational tax would mean Bowling Green residents could see a little more money in their pockets and new businesses would have to pay less in licensing fees.

Construction worker Dennis Easley says the plan would seem to be win-win for everyone.

"Well if I could bring more money home then I would be able to put more back in the businesses. If someone would like to come in and start a new business, then I'd be able to buy their products."

Walker says, "In fact we use a percentage of the tax as a rebate to businesses to entice them to Bowling Green, where we can then give them an incentive to operate their business here."

Mayor Walker admits she is concerned that taking the money from the occupational tax before looking at other options such as property taxes or homeowners tax may not be the best option... but says that is something the commission will have to look at.

"We've got some increases we'll be realizing from our new pay plan. We've got some increases in retirement, so all those things will be taken into account and then he will take a look at the budget surplus and let us know what our options would be."

Mayor Walker says they are uncertain the total amount of excess money but the city will look at whether or not to use the extra funds to pay off city debt or to pursue capitol projects.

The occupational tax discussion will come up again at the end of this current fiscal year.

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