Local News

October 17, 2013

Tax decision likely to have little impact

The Supreme Court of Georgia recently tossed out part of the state’s Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) law. But local officials say the ruling should have little effect on the LOST agreements they signed last year.

The court tossed out a section of the LOST law that said that if cities and counties could not agree on how to split the revenue from the sales tax a judge from outside the area would decide how to split the revenue. The judge would consider plans submitted by both sides and pick one in a manner similar to arbitration hearings in Major League Baseball.

But the court ruled that provisions violated the constitution’s separation of powers by allowing a member of the judicial branch to determine how tax money is spent.

“That really shouldn’t affect us because we did not go before a judge,” said Dalton Mayor David Pennington. “The leadership of Whitfield County and Dalton sat down and settled the matter amongst ourselves in the best interests of all our citizens.”

Whitfield County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Babb said that at the moment it looks like the ruling won’t affect the agreement the city and county signed in 2012.

“Right now, it looks like all they said is that the judicial arbitration part was bad. Well, we never went before a judge,” he said. “But we are waiting to see how everyone else reacts. If one part of the law is bad, does that mean the whole thing was bad?”

The measure calling for baseball type arbitration was added to the law in 2010. Previously, if cities and counties could not agree on how to split LOST revenues they would lose the power to collect the tax.

“We are also waiting on to see what the Legislature does. I would think they are going to have to change the law,” Babb said.

State Sen. Charlie Bethel, R-Dalton, said he hasn’t had the opportunity to read the decision yet but it shouldn’t invalidate any LOST agreements that were made without going before a judge.

“The General Assembly will take up the law again, I’m sure. With that piece missing, if cities and counties reach an impasse, there’s nowhere for them to go,” he said. “But none of those agreements are coming up soon. I don’t believe any will come up in 2014. So there’s no need to act quickly, and I don’t think we will take this up next year. I don’t believe there will be much sympathy for reopening agreements made by elected officials without the intervention by any other authority.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Bugs and Kisses 1 mlh.jpg Local stores expect tax holiday to create lots of sales

    Local retailers say Georgia’s sales tax holiday weekends mean big business for them, and they are gearing up to capitalize on this year’s tax-free shopping on Friday and Saturday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Esme file mw 2.jpg Still fighting

    Ten-year-old Esme Miller was celebrated earlier this year for the way she’s handled a bout with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Historical photos of Murray County needed

    Maybe you have a photograph of a well-known preacher from the 1940s. Or maybe you have a photograph taken of a church choir from the 1920s.

    July 30, 2014

  • State DOT wants your input on transportation needs

    As state and national leaders consider alternatives for funding future transportation needs, the Georgia Department of Transportation wants to know what Georgians would like in their 21st century transportation system and how they recommend paying for it.

    July 30, 2014

  • Jail for Justice Tour event here tonight

    The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition, the NAACP-led multi-racial, multi-issue advocacy group, will host an event in partnership with the Georgia Dreamers Alliance, Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA), Whitfield NAACP and the Whitfield County Democratic Party at Dalton’s Mack Gaston Community Center tonight from 5 to 9.

    July 30, 2014

  • Two charged with tampering with evidence in drug investigation

    Two people have been arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the synthetic marijuana bust in February involving a Dalton business owner.

    July 30, 2014

  • Beaulieu to close operations for one week for inventory

    Floorcovering giant Beaulieu of America will conduct a physical inventory of its buildings and facilities next week, with only salaried employees reporting for work.

    July 30, 2014

  • Green spot closing 1 mlh.jpg A part of the family

    Larry Green can’t remember the exact date. But he says it was about 54 years ago when his father Marvin took him to see the new store he and his brother Herman had commissioned Red Jennings to build at 309 W. Emery St. in Dalton.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • New high school?

    The only means for “staying small” and preserving “The Dalton Way” in Dalton Public Schools may be through expansion, Superintendent Jim Hawkins said Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Bond denied for man arrested in synthetic marijuana bust

    A Dalton business owner charged in a synthetic marijuana bust was denied bond Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014