Fiscal assault: Council, bureaucrats push 3-percent restaurant tax; refuse to say what projects will be funded by the revenue
From that original, we get the more well-known version: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
We often think about that principle in terms of the constant attempts by federal and state governments to extract more of our hard-earned money in the form of taxes and fees.
But could it also be true of a local government?
The Shelbyville City Council after tabling a 3 percent restaurant tax in October has put the same tax on its agenda for this Thursday night’s meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Shelbyville City Hall, 315 S. Washington St. 40065.
What changed between when the council tabled the tax on Oct. 29 and the 5-1 decision on Nov. 19?
Little, apparently, other than according to the Shelbyville Sentinel-News, the commission apparently spent some warm-and-fuzzy time “interacting with the tourism commission.”
This, said councilman Bob Andriot, “made him realize how beneficial such a tax could be to small business owners,” the newspaper reported.
Perhaps Councilman Andriot should spend some more time “interacting” with business owners like Bill Hisle, owner of five Cattleman’s Roadhouse restaurants, including one in Shelbyville.
Perhaps citizens, including business owners in Shelbyville, should protect themselves from yet another tax by contacting Andriot and the other council members and expressing their pointed opposition, especially considering the council and tourism commission continues to refuse to indicate what specific projects this levy will fund.
All taxpayers have been told is that the revenue will be for nebulous “for tourism or tourism-related projects.”
You can find the council members’ contact information, including phone numbers, by clicking here.
Councilmember Jon Swinder at the Nov. 19 meeting cast the only vote against putting the tax back on the agenda, claiming there wasn’t even “adjustments to the amount” of the tax.
Some citizens, including restaurant owners, had requested that the council at least consider lowering the tax to 2 percent or 1 percent. Doing so would require two readings of the ordinance, whereas Thursday’s vote will be the second – and final – reading of a 3-percent tax.
Hisle told me that servers at his restaurant – many are single mothers – would carry the burden of the tax.
“People tend to stick to their planned budget when they go out to a restaurant, and they will continue to do so – by taking the tax out of servers’ tips rather than increasing how much they actually spend,” Hisle said. “Plus, it’s not as if Shelbyville is going to file for bankruptcy any time soon. The city has money in the bank.”
As Hisle notes, “this will be a taxable tax,” meaning the 6-percent sales tax will be figured on the cost of a meal plus the 3-percent restaurant tax.
The tax would increase the tax on restaurant tickets from the current 6 percent to 9.18 percent.
It should outrage hardworking taxpayers that unelected bureaucrats at the local tourism office reportedly have used revenues from nearby Simpsonville’s restaurant tax to fund their campaign to ratchet up taxes on Shelbyville restaurant customers.
And for what? Now there’s the great mystery.
Perhaps the tourocrats don’t want to tell us because they plan on using the funds to fiscally assault taxpayers in yet another Kentucky city.