Thursday, June 25, 2015
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Editor's note: The Commentator wishes to applaud Mr. John Leyzorek for standing up for one of the oldest principles of law which has served us well for many, many years: No taxation without representation. There is nothing wrong with this law that has to be fixed. It prevents governments for which people cannot vote from imposing taxes upon them. Without it we could find that the city of Charleston, WV may well decide that they are providing a service which we in Pocahontas County are required to pay, or perhaps Huntington, or even Wheeling.
In this case, the Town of Marlinton would like to impose a tax upon users of fire protection services inside and outside the town limits. Now I have no problem with the citizens of the town of Marlinton imposing a tax upon themselves to support their fire department. That is fine!
Furthermore, I am not opposed to a fire tax per se. It is not a great amount of money. BUT I WANT TO HAVE MY ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE DO THE VOTING ON THE MATTER. This is the way our democracy works and it has served us well for so many years.
And there is a way that this can be done--through the elected members of the Pocahontas County Commission. If they were to vote for the tax, I would have little recourse and even less reason for complaint. But they haven't voted for this tax.
You will remember back a few years ago, the county commission accepted a "minor" boundary adjustment that was approximately 35 miles in length. (I personally don't consider this to be a "minor" adjustment but that is a different matter.) It consisted primarily in expanding the corporate limits of Marlinton to include miles of side ditches. You will remember that a tiny piece of Beard Heights was incorporated to include the home of a town councilman who had moved there. It may still be in the corporate limits. Some people call this "gerrymandering."
Our elected representatives have declined to pass this fire tax upon us even under the guise of a "fee." Good for them! But the reason for their declination was that they didn't have the balls to vote for it. Had they passed the tax, every landowner in Pocahontas County would have had to pay the tax.
All the fire companies would have benefited from this tax. There would have been a large influx of public dollars coming into all the fire companies. As it stands now the corporate entity of Marlinton is the one entity out of several that have put forth a proposal to enact such a tax and only for their "service area."
What about the other fire companies and their respective service areas?
Most importantly, the county tax would have been imposed via an elected body with the constitutional power to do so. There would be no question of taxation without representation. If we disapproved, we could simply vote our county commissioners out of office. As it stands now we were not allowed to vote for the mayor or the town council.
It is the method that I am complaining about. The fire tax is not a large tax but it is a tax nonetheless. What will be the next tax????