Knox, Corbin Chambers unite to fight ‘unfair tax’

In a showing of solidarity, Knox Chamber president Darren West announced that the Knox Chamber board has voted to stand with and support the Southern Kentucky (Corbin/Williamsburg) Chamber of Commerce. In this rare display of public unity, both chambers are asking the City of Corbin to reconsider it’s plan to double-tax Corbin residents in Knox County.

When asked if the Knox County Chamber would be supporting the Southern Kentucky Chamber against Corbin, West replied: “Absolutely! There is no need to punish the workers and businesses on the Knox side with a double fee or tax.”

“We are obviously very glad,” said Southern Kentucky president Trent Knuckles, that the Knox chamber, “would take that action.”

The city of Corbin voted earlier this month to “stack” an additional one percent tax on the gross wages of workers in the Knox County portion of the city.

The Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted unanimously last Thursday to oppose the measure during its regular monthly meeting. Subsequently, the Knox County Chamber of Commerce board of directors held a similar vote to oppose the move.

In a letter to the City of Corbin, the Southern Kentucky Chamber board noted that the city had been “forced into” a “difficult legislative and legal position” regarding collection of occupational taxes. But, “The decision to enforce a full one percent tax on workers in Knox County we feel is ill-timed and unfair,” the letter states.

It adds, “There are several companies looking at the Knox County side of Corbin as a potential home. We fear this move could endanger those plans and cost our community jobs.”

About 23 percent of Corbin’s population resides in the Knox County portion of Corbin. Whitley County and the city of Corbin share a one percent occupational tax. The proposed new occupational tax will require workers in Corbin’s portion of Knox County to pay two percent on their gross wages in the affected area, because the city’s tax will “stack” on top of a one percent tax imposed by the Knox County Fiscal Court.

In its letter, chamber leaders pointed out several alternatives as possible sources of additional revenue, and noted that spending in the city’s “long-standing” departments has increased nearly two million in less than a decade. It goes on to list several options the city could pursue to balance the budget. Knuckles also noted that Corbin has significantly increased spending. “One example, in 2006, Corbin Parks and Rec department spent $169,011. But in 2015, the city spent $538,000 just on Parks and Recreation,” Knuckles said.

The letter also says, “We believe there are other options for the city to pursue and consider,” 

Corbin leaders did not comment on the chamber’s move at City Commission’s monthly meeting Monday.

Letter to City of Corbin.pdf