Macedonia's "Pay the Same" campaign: The devil is in the details

When city Council passed ordinance 11-2017 to put Issue 3 on the ballot they created a convoluted tax refund system. They're campaigning on the promise that no resident will pay more despite the income tax rate increasing to 2.25 percent -- but they unintentionally made most residents ineligible for a refund.

Residents working outside Macedonia qualify for an income tax credit. If Issue 3 passes as written a resident who pays another city less than 2.25 percent must pay RITA the difference. In theory they'll then ask Macedonia for a refund.

The problem comes from new language intended to prevent double dipping. Unfortunately it clearly prohibits any out-of-city income earner from being eligible for a refund because they qualify for the credit:

"However, a resident is not eligible for the refund set forth in this section where the resident also qualifies for the credit set forth in Section 182.06 of this Chapter"

I proposed a simple fix: Add a .25 percent base credit to the existing tax credit law so none of us have to pay RITA just to ask Macedonia for it back -- while making the eligibility issue moot.

First I was told what the law says doesn't matter, that what Council intended to do was law, or I needed to read "the whole ordinance" in context. None of that is true.

Then I was told RITA has to agree with my credit idea or Macedonia may just rewrite the whole refund process anyway if Issue 3 passes. Now Council is supposedly changing just the eligibility issue five days before Election Day.

I raised these concerns in March, a week before a Council meeting. Where is the sense of urgency and desire to do this right?

Today I have zero confidence of what Issue 3 will actually enact into law, while the city keeps campaigning "Pay the Same!" -- and I'm voting early absentee.

Jeff Garvas, Macedonia