26 December 2018

[MB McCart] - Occupational Tax Situation: Hairdressers & Barbers Unite!

Greetings, TPCers, and I sure hope everything's fantabulous out there & that everyone had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, Yule, Saturnalia, etc. this year!

So, I've written a couple times in the last few weeks in this publication about a particular situation that relates to business licensing in the home city - the Occupational Tax. As I mentioned, this is yet another revenue source for the city that basically taxes anyone making money a minimum of $100 per year. The state allows it, so Covington, naturally, does it.

However, there is one particular subset of persons who have been required to pay this tax that many - this writer included - think is unfair: hairdressers & barbers that work on an independent contractor basis for a salon or barbershop that is ALREADY paying an occupational tax to the city. This seems like an unfair double taxation & economic hardship for these folks, in my estimation.

I've spoken with several hairdressers & barbers & it seems as if the city did not start going after every person cutting hair until about 4 years ago. It seems as if a conscious decision was made with the city Planning & Zoning department to raise this additional revenue at that time. That's something I'll be looking into further.

A couple of things to note:

The city and its P&Z staff have purportedly been telling multiple hairdressers that the state forces them to do this. WRONG! State law allows an occupational tax, but it is NOT mandatory, and the municipal government has autonomy in how it's charged & for whom the charge applies.

Of the city's total $130 million+ budget, all licenses (alcohol, etc) and occupational taxes account for approx $250,000 worth of revenue. So, a drop in the bucket, really. At most, based on my calculations, the city might be looking at losing around $10,000. Maybe we could discount the salaries of the 20 city employees or so who are making over $80,000 a year to make up the difference (or the six making over $100K!). Lolz, right? Not likely. So...what's the answer?

As I've confirmed, the city council can vote to change this at anytime, whether to do away with it or to come up with a lower, more nominal charge for folks that are in this particular position. As they almost always do with any manner of issues, some with the city fear this could become a "slippery slope" of sorts. In my opinion, freedom & equity are not slippery slopes; regardless, this is a battle that will have to be fought in the political arena. And to that point:

- Hairdressers & barbers, and their family & friends, limited government advocates, concerned citizens, etc. need to start contacting the Mayor & the City Council. Click on this link to find contact information for all of those persons. 

- Second. Several have discussed starting a petition. I have volunteered to facilitate this as I'm not just the Editor of TPC but am also a self-described Community Organizer Public Advocate & Troubleshooter. Reach out to me at: 678.712.8652 if you'd like to sign the petition or help in another way.

Strength in numbers, friends! Vox Populi & all! Barbers & Hairdressers Unite! 

Okay for now, folks. Until next time...

MB McCart

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