A proposal presented by Chairman Kathy Morgan could generate $1 million for the county. Pet owners would pay at least $10 each for their animals ($25 for those not spayed or neutered), and Morgan estimates that there are 100,000 taxable pets.
We think this proposal smells like a dog that wallowed in a road kill carcass on an August day.
It's not going to be called a tax, but what this comes down to is that the county is proposing to tax pet owners as a way to increase revenue.
As an editorial board, we are against discriminatory taxing. Families in Newton County are already stretched to the limit financially.
If this tax becomes law, we feel enforcement would be almost impossible. We wonder how many people are going to volunteer to purchase tags for their animals and what kind of penalties they would incur if they don't.
At best, hard-pressed families with multiple pets who couldn't afford to pay the fee would become scofflaws and simply ignore it.
But there's also a possibility that families who are barely making ends meet now would either turn their pets loose to roam the countryside or would have to give up their pets and turn them over to the county animal shelter for adoption or to be euthanized.
We think Chairman Morgan should drop this proposal.