Insurance Premium Tax Ordinance Voted Down in Warren Fiscal Court

By: Melissa Warren Email
By: Melissa Warren Email

The decision on whether to make Warren County residents pay an insurance premium tax was made this morning.

Once in opposition of an ordinance to impose an insurance premium tax on county residents, one man explains how a misinformed community may have destroyed the proposal's chances of approval.

"You can have any good project going that you want to bring up, but if you have enough misinformation on it, it's never going to be accepted," said Warren County Resident Bobby Blair.

Following a quick unanimous vote to kill the ordinance, a packed courtroom listened as its author, Warren County Judge Executive Mike Buchanon, made one last attempt to explain the ordinance.
A former firefighter, Blair says that speech made him reconsider his stance.

"If he had made this speech to me before that, I believe I could have recommended this tax go through," said Blair.

While others still stand firm against the idea.

"I don't think a tax should be imposed on insurance policies in order to raise revenues for the county," said Warren County Resident Malcolm Cherry.

Cherry thinks there are other means of financing public protection and emergency services improvements.
The need to set the County Clerk and Sheriff's budgets pressured the magistrates to call for the second reading and vote.
Buchanon says there just wasn't enough time to clear up rumors.

"When we put it back on the agenda so fast, which I did not want to do, we didn't have time to appropriately communicate to 115,000 people," said Warren County Judge Executive Mike Buchanon.

What now remains is how to deal with the needed funding for things like a new radio system for the emergency services, things Buchanon says would save lives and money.

"It would be irresponsible for us to allow the public to go without a communication system," said Buchanon

Now the fiscal court will have to decide how to pay for them, because it won't be with an insurance premium tax.

Popular rumors about the tax regarded who would be taxed, how much and on what, and where the new revenue would go.

Buchanon says because today's ordinance was defeated, the court had to make some cuts in the budget of the Sheriff and Warren County Clerk.

He says efforts will be taken to better inform the community with future proposals.


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