Southside leaders debate getting rid of occupational tax

Occupational tax debate
Published: Feb. 25, 2023 at 3:29 PM CST
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SOUTHSIDE, Ala. (WBRC) - Cities in Etowah County are speaking out about potential changes to their occupational tax. A number of leaders there want to keep the tax in place, but some say it’s a bad tax for people and businesses.

Southside Mayor Dana Snyder spoke out Thursday during a town hall against Sen. Andrew Jones’ proposal to phase out the occupational tax in Etowah County.

“I am with every mayor here, everybody here, I think that Andrew Jones needs to keep his nose out of our business,” Snyder said, going on to explain how the occupational tax helps her city.

“Our budget is a little over $6 million a year,” she said. “We don’t have eight percent, maybe, of occupational tax which is $600,000 or so a year in our budget. That provides our SROs for our two schools. That also provides some of our sanitation services and definitely the increase in the police and fire that we’re trying to do right now by building a fire station.”

Southside councilor Keith clay says the occupational tax is a bad thing and phasing it out won’t have an impact on the services the city provides.

“We will have to be fiscally responsible with the people’s money, but we should already be doing that anyway. It will actually be less than the annual budget increase. So, it will be no net loss.”

Clay says that even if it doesn’t pass at the state level to phase this out, he still wants to see it gone at Southside, adding that getting rid of the occupational tax could help those who deserve it the most.

“The people that we employ the most of is teachers,” he said. “So, this is putting money back in the teachers’ pockets. Which you know, I think what teachers do is great and I don’t think they get paid enough for doing it. It just puts money back into the people’s pockets who are coming into our town and working. We get stimulus checks because they stimulate economy, but the problem with stimulus checks is that they cause inflation. This shouldn’t cause inflation because it’s already the people’s money.”

Clay says this proposal is something he plans to present to the other city councilors at the next work session which will happen next Tuesday.

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