Loophole allows tax debtors to run for office - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Loophole allows tax debtors to run for office

PSC Commissioner Doug Everett PSC Commissioner Doug Everett
Arthur K. Williams Arthur K. Williams

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The man who introduced legislation to block people who owe back taxes from holding public office, says a major loophole was allowed before it passed.

Doug Everett, who's now a Public Service Commissioner, says as a state legislator, introduced a constitutional amendment that would prohibit people who owe back taxes from running for office, IF they aren't attempting to pay it back.

Everett, who previously served on the Albany City Commission, said he had Arthur K. Williams in mind when he proposed the amendment. Everett says when the term "final adjudication" was added, it made the legislation all but unenforceable.

Everett said, "I do not believe anyone should sit on a taxing authority should sit on a taxing authority that owes taxes. Why should they be able to tell you and I how much and how taxes are when they themselves won't follow the rules and regulations and the laws?"

Former state senator Michael Meyer von Bremen said, "True intent was to prevent people who without legitimate reason have not paid their taxes from holding office. Either running for office or being an office holder from continuing to hold that office."

Monday, the Board of Registration and Elections determined Williams can run for the Ward three city commission seat because tax liens against him have not been finally adjudicated. A voter in his ward had challenged his ability to run because of those tax liens.

    • Click HERE for a PDF file of tax debts owed by Arthur K. Williams. The handwritten "C" on the dcuments indicates the tax debt was satisfied. The checkmark indicates the debt is still owed.

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