Star Valley’s councilor George Binney picked up a tax stone Tuesday night and threw it at the Goliath of government. Binney expressed his dissent for the tax code and the repercussions for not following it at the town council meeting.
He took offense when he realized people could face misdemeanor charges for not paying taxes owed to the government, but face only civil action if they didn’t pay tax owed to a private seller.
“It is a double standard,” Binney said of the discrepancy. “Everyone should be treated the same, including government.”
Binney’s concerns arose during the council’s discussion of amending the town’s model city tax code following a recommendation from the Municipal Tax Code Commission.
In February, the commission approved several amendments to the code including technical corrections and clarifications.
It wasn’t the changes that got Binney upset, it was the tax system as a whole.
If Star Valley adopted these changes, he asked, would some citizens be back-taxed for items amended back to 2006.
Town Manager Tim Grier said no.
“It is very confusing to read code,” Binney
said. “With my distrust of the government, if it is retroactive (the amended provisions), then they can come back and tax. And if the government needs money, and they do, they will.”
Grier agreed that the code was over complicated and hard to understand, but Star Valley would need to pass the resolution so the town could continue to collect taxes.
The Model City Tax Code (MCTC) is a uniform sales and use tax act that has been adopted by most Arizona towns. It was originally drafted after businesses expressed concern over the wide divergence between local privilege taxes.
“This is particularly true for multi-jurisdictional taxpayers who are paying tax not only to the state but also to two or more cities and towns throughout the state,” the League of Arizona Cities and Towns Web site states.
The code provides uniformity across the state, but also gives towns the ability to decide which items are taxed or exempt.
“If it is not adopted today, it will be back on your plate,” Grier said.
Binney suggested the town not pass it and see what happens. It could spur other towns to do the same.
“We have to make a statement to government,” Binney said.
Mayor Bill Rappaport asked Grier what would happen if they said no to the resolution.
Grier said he did not know for sure, but the town may not collect taxes.
In the end, David put down his stone and tabled the item to the Sept. 15 council meeting so Grier could have more time to research the item.
Also at the meeting:
• The council approved moving council meetings from the Star Valley Baptist Church to the Town Hall, 3632 E. Highway 260. The first meeting held there will be in October.
• Approved a $75,000 grant from the Ak-Chin Indian Community to put toward the law enforcement contract.
• Canceled the next council meeting on Sept. 1 because councilors will be in Tucson at the League of Arizona Cities and Towns conference.