Monday, April 30, 2012
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
LILBURN -- Tom Wight took the opportunity of a special-called meeting of the Lilburn City Council on Monday to express his disapproval of the city's gross receipts tax on local businesses, calling it impossible and costly to enforce.
Wight, the first-term councilman, said the tax -- which basically asks Lilburn businesses to pay a percentage of their total receipts for a year -- was a poor option for generating revenue. He said the city is handcuffed when it comes to strictly enforcing the law because it does not have the staff to perform forensic audits.
The tax was passed by the previous council and has been in action for about a year.
"What we should do is pass an enforceable tax that minimizes compliance costs," Wight said. "There are a lot of ways to do that."
Councilman Eddie Price said he was open to hearing ideas on the subject. Councilman Tim Dunn was skeptical, pointing out that the tax was enacted after the suggestion of a citizen budget review board.
"I don't know that other cities that have this have said that it's unenforceable and a high cost of compliance," Dunn said. "Have the other cities, have they encountered this? Then why are they still using it?"
City manager Bill Johnsa estimated that the first cycle under the gross receipts tax was expected to generate about $360,000. That is compared to about $120,000 under the previous system, which taxed businesses based on number of employees.
"Are you asking that the council goes back and revisits the whole taxation of businesses?" Mayor Johnny Crist asked Wight.
Wight responded yes, though that seemed unlikely to happen.
"There doesn't seem to be a desire of the council to move forward in reviewing all that," Crist said.