This is an open letter to Marshall County Commission Chairman James Hutcheson.

Mr. Hutcheson,

I understand that two of our county commissioners, Mr. (Ronny) Shumate and Mr. (Joey) Baker live within the city limits of Arab and Albertville, respectively.

Is it right for them to be able to cast a vote to tax others, of which they will be exempt because they live in the city limits?

It doesn’t seem right.

I believe it is one thing to manage a county shop and don’t care where they live to perform these duties, but it’s an entirely different matter to have a critical vote in creating or increasing a tax for which they are not included.

I see this as another version of taxation without representation (if they are not personally included in the group to be subject to this tag tax).

I would like to see them excused from the vote to create/increase any tax on residents of which they will not be subject.

I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know the legal aspects of this, just that it doesn’t look right.

As a former United States Air Force program manager, I know public perception is key. I would like to see any matter of new or increased taxes put to a vote of the people it will affect.

Meanwhile, the proposed tag tax is a “band aide” trying to fix a much bigger problem.

Marshall County cities have annexed the vast majority of retail stores and retain a full 5 percent in sales tax from county (outside city limits/boundaries) residents, a portion of which was never meant to fund the city school system, city fire departments, repave city roads, etc.

This portion of sales tax is being directed away from the county school system, volunteer fire departments (VFDs), county road repair fund, etc.

As a result of this broken tax system, county residents are being asked to fund special “band aide” taxes for VFDs (added to our property tax) and now the proposed tag tax for county school resource officers (SRO), while still having to pay the cities 5 percent for every dollar we spend shopping.

Please prioritize fixing this badly broken tax system as a solution here would give the county schools and VFDs enough funding to have some operating freedom.

I outlined a potential concept to fix this in my letter to the editor published in this paper on July 24, 2019.

County residents, if you agree with this, or have a possible solution in mind, please let your voice be heard.

Contact your county commissioner, your state house representative, write a letter to the editor, etc.

Ken Sebek



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