Owensboro Chamber asks city to rethink tax increase - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Owensboro Chamber opposes tax increase


The Owensboro Chamber of Commerce sent a message with recommendations concerning the proposed tax increase. 

The tax increase proposal came as no surprise when the city presented the first budget draft last week. City officials have been saying all year that would probably be the case, but the chamber fears it will drive out community members and businesses, so they spoke up.

"We needed to have a position, not only for our businesses but for the community as a whole" Owensboro Chamber of Commerce Board Chair, Wade Jenkins, says.

The message, sent to all chamber member starts, "Last week, the City of Owensboro presented their final budget before the first reading. The budget focuses on a four-year cumulative budget deficit that city staff projects at $42,711,716. The city staff recommends addressing this with the largest tax increase in our community’s history."

It continues with alternatives to a tax increase. 

"We'd like to see a one-year budget, dollar for dollar, internal cuts, for every dollar of tax increase," Jenkins says. 

The city proposed increasing property, occupational, and insurance taxes, but 3 of the 4 commissioners were not in favor of the insurance tax. City officials have hinted all year this could be coming but believe it's necessary to bring down that deficit.

"No one ever ever ever wants a tax increase. I don't want a tax increase, I don't want to see my salary go to the operation of the government or the state or the federal government, but at the same time, you essentially get what you pay for. There's a cost to doing business in the city of Owensboro," City Manager, Bill Parrish, says. 

The city hasn't increased the taxes in over eight years, but chamber officials fear to raise those taxes will drive business outside city limits. That's why they made some recommendations. 

"I think we have to protect the wallets of not only the business community so we can have a strong vibrant community, but again, we have to protect our employees of those businesses as well as these hardworking citizens of the Owensboro community," Jenkins says.

The first reading for the budget will be Monday, April 24, at 5:00 P.M. in City Hall. You can read the recommendations from the chamber here. 

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