Local officials urge legislators to keep home rule intact
Holt, Jones meet with councilmembers
By Stephanie Johns
Madison Councilman Michael Naples urged State 112 District Rep. Doug Holt and District 25 Senator Burt Jones (R) to preserve home rule during the Hometown Connection meeting last week.
“There’s some attack on home rule,” he began. He then gave an example pertaining to tax collections and remittance.
“We asked the tax commissioner to collect our taxes and mail a check to us as taxes come in,” he said, adding that one county told them they could not do that.
“Why can’t we do what we want?” he asked. “It’s cost effective.”
He then asked Holt and Jones to be on the lookout for legislation that could affect a city’s ability to raise revenue.
“You guys are going to have to fight for us,” he said.
Madison Mayor Bruce Gilbert asked about point of sale collections so that the city receives the taxes it collects from stores such as Walmart, Pilot and RaceTrac.
Marcia Rubensohn, Deputy Director of Government Relations with the Georgia Municipal Association, addressed Gilbert’s concerns. She said that Doug MacGinnitie, State Revenue Commissioner with the Georgia Department of Revenue, is open to creating technology to help with this.
MacGinnitie has a pilot program that allows cities and counties to provide details of businesses within their communities. The state, which collects sales tax revenue, could then determine if they have received taxes from a business that does not have an occupation license in a particular city or county, for example.
“This should help make sure they’re paying their fair share going forward,” she said.
The county’s biggest concern as Morgan County Chairwoman Ellen Warren sees it is the Department of Transportation.
“We haven’t known what to expect or where things are coming from,” she said. She said paving for the Baxter project will be expensive.
Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce President Bob Hughes said Baxter will have about 1,500 people at the peak of employment.
“Even with split shifts, that’s 300 to 400 going out and 300 to 400 coming in,” he said. “That’s a lot of traffic.”
Hughes suggested another interchange at Sewell Road.
Holt responded that the DOT board member position for this Congressional District will come open this year.
“The infrastructure is the only thing that may hold us back,” Hughes said.
Printed in the December 13, 2012 edition