17 March 2019

[MB McCart] - Covington Council to Discuss Occupational Tax; Possible Changes Hopefully on the Way for Hairdressers & Barbers

Greetings, Citizens.

Hope all is well out there. As this publication has written about a time or two, the practices of the City of Covington as it relates to occupational taxes has drawn the ire & consternation of many for many reasons, namely that the city - unlike just about any other city in Georgia based on my research - exercises in what can only be described as double taxation in which they require that any salons, barbershops, etc. have to to pay for a occupational tax/business license, but then also require all individual hairdressers & barbers working in that establishment pay for their own occupational tax license fee, to the tune of $100, as well. 

C-town Representin'!

If that seems inherently unfair to you, it's because it truly is. 

Why not make anyone out there making money pay an occupational tax? Because, really, in the big picture, that's what the tax is - a tax on anyone undertaking an occupation. Well, they kind of do that actually, they just make the employer pay for it. Every business in town pays a tax every year that includes a maximum flat fee amount (more on that in a future piece) & then an additional amount per employee.

Pretty rotten, right?

To be honest, there's a fair number of folks (and I'm one of them) who simply think that there shouldn't be an occupational tax at all, for anything, but I'm afraid the barn door's wide open on that one, or, if you prefer, that that's a bell that's been rung for far too long (at least given the current dynamics of things), but, if we're being honest here, the City Council with a majority vote could do that very thing...

But let's stay realistic.

So as it is, and based on my research this didn't really get going until a few years ago, but the city decided that all individual hairdressers & barbers - working as independent contractors - should be required to pay this tax, and not just the establishment itself that they worked out of.

So...what's the road ahead? How do we fix this? Well, I'll tell you how it can be fixed. The City of Covington Council can, with a simple majority vote, balance the equities of things by mandating that any independent contractor working out of an establishment that that already pays an occupational tax license fee does not have to pay this fee. It's the only fair & equitable position for the city to take. And to that point...

It was just brought to my attention that this issue will be discussed at the next City of Covington Council meeting: 

| Monday 3/18/19, 6:30PM | 
Covington City Hall
2194 Emory St. Covington, GA 30014

I know many folks are planning to attend this meeting including Ms. Casi Cowan, a hairdresser in town that recently renewed my interest in this situation, as well as the one & only Wain Stowe, with whom I've discussed this issue a few times over the years. I'm definitely planning on being there as well. Hairdressers & Barbers Unite! When it comes to effecting change in the political arena, there is most definitely strength in numbers. Make sure to get to that council meeting tomorrow night & bring the kids, some friends & a few of your kin. At a minimum, it's just good free entertainment (though not really). 

Also, I suggest reaching out to your representation on the council. I know pro-Freedom-Fella & friend-of-the-program Josh McKelvey supports making a change, but he needs at least two others to vote with him. Let's set things right, friends! Be there tomorrow night.

As a final aside, if the city does make this much-needed, no-brainer of a decision, I'm thinking it's going to cost the city anywhere from $10,000 - maybe $15,000 in lost revenue. Out of a $132 million budget, we are talking about a decrease in funds of approx .0001 of the total budget. 

Seems like it should be a slam dunk.

Look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow night.

- MB McCart