Both local chamber boards, Knox County and the Southern Kentucky Chamber, have voted to ask Corbin to make a change. The two chambers are protesting Corbin’s plan to take an estimated $1 million dollars worth of occupational “fees” from the pockets of businesses and employees who happen to work in the Knox County part of Corbin.
First of all, it is very refreshing for two chamber boards to work together. As Southern Kentucky Chamber president Trent Knuckles said, “Chambers should stand up for the best interest of their members.” (Full disclosure readers, I am one of the board members serving the Knox County Chamber.)
I believe it is definitely in the best interest of both chambers, and also the City of Corbin, to bring more jobs into Corbin and Knox County.
And, does Corbin really need a million more dollars to meet the city’s basic needs?
I believe the answer is no. Corbin’s budget lists $1,093,824 for “special projects!”
Corbin already has more police officers to provide protection to less than 7,500 people than there are sheriff deputies to serve all of 32,000 residents in Knox County. The city of Corbin already gained over $700,000 per year from alcohol taxes. Perhaps most telling, the city has increased its parks and recreation budget over 500% in the last 10 years. Does Corbin really NEED nearly $700,000 for parks and recreation this year? Or is that an expensive “want?”
Remember, the area in question includes industrial parks, to which we are trying to attract more businesses. Plus, Keeneland announced plans to build a $30-50 million quarter horse race track and entertainment complex, “Thunder Run” in the area. Why put all this at risk?
Plus, in their letter to Corbin city manager and commissioners, the chamber from Corbin suggested multiple ways for the city to raise revenue without the tax. Furthermore, under an amendment proposed by Senator Stivers, the city could already have been collecting money without “stacking” the tax. The senator’s proposal could have put hundreds of thousands of dollars more in city coffers over two years, but city officials chose to pursue this “million dollar” option.
Seriously, is doubling the tax a good way to entice business into the area? I think creating a “double taxation” district in the Knox portion of the city is greedy, politically shortsighted, and unfair. I think we need more jobs, and less taxes, not the other way around.
What do you think?