Businesses want break on inventory tax - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Businesses want break on inventory tax

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - You'll get to decide whether to give many Georgia businesses a tax break. This week, the governor signed a bill that will let voters decide whether to repeal the state's inventory tax.

Critics say the state loses tens of millions of dollars in revenue every year by giving tax breaks to special interest groups. But business owners say the inventory tax isn't fair and needs to go.

Each year, Steve Allen has to go through every piece of inventory at Allen's Jewelers and send a tax on the value of those goods to the state of Georgia.  He said, "I think it's an unfair tax on businesses, especially if you don't sell the merchandise on it one year, you're going to pay taxes the next year."

And in a tough economy, precious jewels can take their precious time to sell. So Allen sometimes pays taxes on the same item year after year. "You pay inventory tax again on it and again and again and again."

It's thousands of dollars each year at this shop. Thousands of dollars that could be used for other things. He said, "New employees, fixing things up around here. Doing things that are good for the business."

Maybe even passing along savings to customers. Instead, every tax that Allen has to pay, has to be passed on. "We ultimately have to pass the cost to the customer."

That's why he's glad to know the state is finally going to give businesses a break. "Hopefully the people in this state will see it's an unfair tax on business and we can eliminate it," said Allen.  A gem of a deal, for small businesses, and ultimately, the customers they serve.

The bill will be placed on a referendum November of 2010 for the voters to vote up or down. Senator Freddie Powell Sims and Representatives Carol Fullerton and Ed Rynders voted in favor of the bill. Representative Winfred Dukes was excused from voting on the bill.

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