Warren County Insurance Premium Tax a No-Go

By: Tamara Evans Email
By: Tamara Evans Email

A crowd of Warren County residents attended the Fiscal Court's open forums this weekend to voice their concerns and opinions on a possible insurance premium tax.

Last week the Warren County Fiscal Court approved the first reading of the tax, which originally was planned to be ten percent and was later downgraded to five percent.

"I don't know where I am suppose to find that in my budget. It's hard for me to believe that no where in the county budget they can't find a single penny they they can't cut or move around", says concerned citizen, Anne Daniel.

The tax was suggested to make up for the county's three-million dollar shortfall due to state and federally mandated, but unfunded projects.

This proposal would have affected almost all types of insurance, except health insurance, which would've been exempt.

Warren County Judge Executive Mike Buchanon says the county is no longer considering the insurance premium tax. Instead they are now looking at other options.

"Certainly everyone I know has had enough in new taxes. We heard people from all over the county who said we don't want to pay a new tax", says Buchanon.

After an insurance premium tax was proposed for the county to make up for a three million dollar deficit, hundreds of people voiced their opinion on the tax to Buchanon.

"I understand someones anger about being forced to pay additional, because they're all on set budgets, or household budgets, just like the county is on a set budget", says Buchanon.

The county is now looking at other solutions to make up for the shortfall.

"We're going back to the drawing board on exactly what we're going to do in regards to additional cuts", says Buchanon.

They will start with possibly cutting from area agencies and organizations. They could be cutting costs from some, as long as it doesn't negatively affect the county.

The next step is to look at the possibility of another tax.

"We heard reoccurring messages of they'd rather see it on an occupational tax or a sales tax. A sales tax is not legal in the state of Kentucky. The occupational tax is an avenue we're gonna research and look at that", says Buchanon.

Several cities within Warren County already pay an occupational tax.

Residents within the city of Bowling Green already pay two percent for this tax.

With ninety percent of residents already paying this tax, only ten percent could be affected by an occupational tax.

"An occupational tax for a county is off set by the city, so anyone that's already paying it which would be 90 percent of the people wouldn't pay an occupation tax to the county", says Buchanon.

Buchanon says for now they will continue to listen to the community for possible solutions.

"We're gonna have to make some difficult decisions depending on what the people say they want us to do", says Buchanon.

If imposed the occupation tax for the county would be less than what several of the cities in Warren County already impose, and residents who already pay this tax would not pay it twice.

The Budget and Revenue Committee will now look at budget cuts and additional Fiscal Court meetings will be held this month to talk more about the options that are now available.

Judge Buchanon says a budget must be presented to the Fiscal Court by the first of May.

As for the special meeting on the insurance premium tax that was scheduled for this Monday at nine a.m....It has been canceled.

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