Anti-tax meeting held in Goshen

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 14, 2003

Goshen residents had an opportunity Thursday night to learn more about the Riley Tax Plan from speakers who said the plan was designed for deception and is being promoted by scare tactics.

Representatives from the Tax Accountability Coalition held a town meeting at Goshen Town Hall and 30-plus residents attended.

Whitt Goolsby, field representative for the Alabama Farmers Federation, said pro-tax advertising is misleading.

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"Their advertisement says that a family of four that makes $40,000 a year will get a $600 tax credit," he said. "A family of that size making that amount pays no tax to speak of anyway. Six hundred dollars taken from $600 is still zero. That's misleading and that's not right."

Goolsby said Riley says that it's time for all big timber companies to start paying their fair share.

"That implies that the timber companies are not paying their fair share," he said. "They are paying according to the law - what the law says is their fair share. Landowners and home owners are going to pay more. Everybody who owns a car is going to pay more. Car tags are going to cost more and repairs on vehicles are going to be taxed."

Goolsby said the sales tax on a new automobile is going to be 2 to 2.5 percent higher.

"And, sales tax on leases of vehicle are going to be from 1.5 to 3 percent higher," he said. "When these trucking companies have to start paying those taxes, the companies are going to pass that along. Your groceries are going to cost you more."

Goolsby said cigarettes are going to be taxed 14.5 cents more a package and personal income is going to be affected.

"Riley's Tax Plan is going to eliminate all tax deductions except mortgage interest and charitable and medical expenses. That's going to hit a lot of people," he said. "The new sales tax on services is also going to hit a lot of people. If someone comes to your house to fix a broken window, you're going to pay tax on that. That tax is really going to hurt.

"Big government is coming to Alabama if this thing passes, so look out!"

John Dorrill, retired executive director ALFA Farmers Federation, said the wording on the ballot is just another deceptive ploy used by Riley to mislead voters.

"There is nothing in the amendment that says 'tax increase,' only tax adjustment," he said. "That might lead someone to think that there could be a tax decrease. It's confusing and it's a deliberate plan to mislead voters. And as Sept. 9, draws closer, Riley and Paul Hubbard (executive secretary of Alabama Education Association) will resort to any tactics to get voters to vote in favor of the tax. They're saying that schools will close, that there will be no scholarships available. That there will be hardened criminals on the streets; nutrition centers will close. They'll say anything to get voters out.

"They'll have the same amount of money they've been having. What's the problem? Irresponsible spending, that's the problem. While the number of students in our public schools has decreased 14 percent, the number of administrators has increased 47 percent. Explain that. It's irresponsible."

Dorrill warned those gathered at Goshen Town Hall that a tax increase - the biggest in the state's history - is forever.

"If this tax passes, we'll never get unshackled and they'll waste it," he said.