Is Corbin’s “stacked tax” on Knox workers even legal?

From the Publisher Jay Nolan
From the Publisher
Jay Nolan

When Corbin’s city leaders put the new 1% occupational tax on the Knox County section of the city, did they inadvertently institute an “illegal” tax? Several things about the way the tax (technically a “fee”) was implemented definitely raise legal questions.

In Knox County, the fee only applies to gross wages from employees. Employers are not required to pay. Yet in the Whitley County portion of the city, both pay. Can the city legally discriminate like this? It certainly seems unfair, and many wonder if it is even legal.

Whitley residents don’t have their taxes stacked. They only pay 1%. Can Corbin legally discriminate and charge different rates in different parts of the same city?

Senator Robert Stivers put an amendment into state law. It allowed Corbin to act, notify citizens and then to claim 1/10 of 1% of the occupational tax already in effect. This would have required Knox to give 10% of the taxes collected in the Knox part of Corbin to Corbin the first year after Corbin acted. The second year, and every year thereafter, Corbin would get 2/10 of the current tax. This would generate around $200,000.00 annually down the road for Corbin.

Instead of accepting this “built into law” option to get hundreds of thousands of dollars in new money, Corbin ignored the Stivers Amendment completely. They chose to “stack” an additional 1% tax on top of the Knox County tax. However, now the question is, can they disregard the Stivers Amendment completely?

I don’t blame people for questioning this confusing, ill-conceived, and possibly illegal tax. However, remember, don’t call the Knox County Courthouse. As Wayne Willis from the Knox County Treasurer’s office told me: “We have been getting people calling. We are doing things the same as always. If people have questions about what Corbin did, they need to call the City of Corbin.”

I agree. Corbin deserves to get a lot of heat over this. The City of Corbin is being greedy, as the 1% “stack” could get them about a million dollars of citizen money. Plus, Corbin did not even try again to work with Knox County, Senator Stivers, or anyone else again before doing this. I think this tax is unfair to the hard working people in Knox County, and may even be illegal.

What do you think?