Columbia County Commissioners voted for a new tax… but it isn't one for everybody.
The 2% energy excise tax on
manufacturers is replacing an energy sales tax that the state eliminated last
year. The tax
won't directly affect resident and businesses, because it's only for manufacturers.
lawmakers pushed for this tax reform in an effort to attract more business to
the state, bBut Columbia County leaders say they feel
like the state gave away something that was rightfully theirs.
Commissioners unanimously approved the new energy tax, which will boost revenue
that the county lost when a new state law took effect last year.
“For Columbia County it was
going to be about $250,000 lost, so once again we've leveled the
playing field now we won't realize that loss,” says Columbia County Administrator Scott Johnson.
Before the tax reform,
manufacturers paid sales tax on energy consumption. 2% percent
went to the county and 4% percent went to the state.
“The state law gave the
county an option to recoup their two percent should they choose to do that,
based on an excise tax. So basically what this is, this is recouping a tax that
the county was already getting and the manufacturer is still going to benefit
because they are going to benefit from the four percent that the state has
given up,” says Johnson.
Companies will be taxed on the
energy they use which includes gas, electricity, water and several other
materials factories use to operate. Businesses like Georgia Iron Works and John
Deere were opposed to this energy tax, but Columbia County Administrator Scott
Johnson says they came around.
“And certainly they need any
kind of benefit that they can. We support the industry in Columbia County, this
is not a vote to say that we are not behind them,” says Johnson.
Johnson says the county is also
trying to support its citizens.
“Really the credit that we
would have been giving away may have had to been recouped in property taxes and
we didn't feel like it was fair for the citizens of Columbia County to pay an
additional property tax so a manufacturer could take a tax credit,” says Johnson.
Columbia County officials say
that the energy tax will take effect as soon as the county attorney
drafts an ordinance.