Tax increases not wanted but must be done at times

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Our Views

  There is not a single elected official - let alone a politician - who would ever admit that they enjoyed voting for a tax increase.

However, those elected officials who do happen to have the courage and wisdom to vote for an occasional tax hike should not be scarred for life.

Look at the recent decision by Bullitt Fiscal Court members.

To say that we were not surprised by the decision to take the compensatory rate, which increased the tax rate from 9.3 cents to 9.6 cents per $100 of assessed property.

Individually, that means that if you owned a home valued at $100,000, your tax bill would increase from $93 to $96.

The decision to increase the rate, which came with a 3-2 vote, is the first in many, many years in which the county leaders have opted to not give money away.

For those many years, the county leaders did not wish to take any increase, even though it was allowed by law. In the growth years, the tax rate was even lowered for many governmental entities in Bullitt County.

By taking the compensating rate, the county leaders would have kept hundreds of thousands of dollars. By not taking that rate, they gave up that money - never to be recovered.

This year’s decision wasn’t so much a decrease in real property taxes but a major loss of personal property, which includes automobiles and boats.

Even taking the compensating rate won’t result in a windfall of profits.

By accepting the higher rate, magistrates did offer an explanation - such as the anticipation of cities taking a large percentage of the insurance premium tax.

There has also been talk of finding money to look at salary increases, especially in high-turnover departments, such as Central Dispatch and Emergency Medical Services.

We do not condone or endorse raising taxes for the sake of generating more money to play with. We believe there are areas in which any governmental entity can make cuts. That must come from the elected leaders to suggest and to implement such change.

But we are also realistic enough to know that expenses do increase. 

With a realistic plan for spending, most people will accept an occasional need for additional revenue, even in these tough economic times.

We applaud the three county leaders - County Judge Melanie Roberts and magistrates Ruthie Ashbaugh and Rick Clements - for making a difficult decision. If these decisions had been made over the years, maybe the county would be in even better financial condition today.