Commissioner calls out critic

Tax protester challenged for not paying taxes
By Vicki Hyatt | Apr 26, 2013

Comments from a critic who regularly scolds the Haywood County Board of Commissioners about budget and tax issues prompted one commissioner to push back on April 15, commonly called “Tax Day.”

Jonnie Cure, a retired real estate business owner, has taken a lead role in opposing a 2 percent increase in the occupancy tax assessed on those staying at overnight accommodations in the county. All but two local government leaders, Maggie Valley aldermen Philip Wight and Mike Matthews, support the increase as a way to fund capital projects within the county they hope will boost tourism.

During a public comment session, Cure took a swipe at the proposal she’s fighting against and took issue with a letter sent to state Sen. Jim Davis on the occupancy tax issue.

She read the letter in its entirety, emphasizing parts where Commission Chairman Mark Swanger apologized for the small minority in the county who felt as though they must oppose any positive measures and referenced a “small yet extremely vocal group of citizens” whose views were based on unfounded opinions, misinformation and ideologies rather than facts.

Cure said she was offended by comments in the letter about those opposed to the tax, said the letter could have been written without them and asked for the letter to be introduced into the minutes.

“Anyone who opposes this needs to know what this body thinks of them,” Cure said.

While Cure’s comments were similar to ones she has made to the commissioners before, this time, Commissioner Kevin Ensley took issue with her remarks.

“What offends me, Ms. Cure, is that over there in the Justice Center, you have hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax liens,” he said, referencing IRS and North Carolina court documents filed to collect taxes. “What offends me is why you don’t pay your taxes.”

In a later interview, Ensley said he challenged Cure this time because it was on April 15, Tax Day, and he had just finished paying his quarterly employer taxes and income taxes.

“She was telling us what offended her, so I let her know what offended me,” he said. “I knew that 95 percent of the people in Haywood County had paid their taxes by the deadline, and here is somebody talking about paying taxes who doesn’t pay hers.”

Ensley said he also spoke out because he thinks it is “important for the public to know the character and integrity of the people making statements about tax policy.”

Cure attempted to respond to Ensley’s remarks, but Swanger said the public comment session was over.

“You mean I can’t answer Kevin Ensley’s comments?” she asked.

“No,” Swanger responded.

The occupancy tax issue is the most recent one where Cure has been leading the charge against taxing and spending.

Though she is not an accommodation owner who would be collecting the tax, she said she opposed the hike because of its long-lasting implications for county and town taxpayers.

“They are pretending this money is coming from out-of-towners and only tourists will be paying,” Cure said. “That’s totally false. Once we invest in these projects, who will support, maintain, insure and market them. They’re pretending there are no unintended consequences here. I will have to pay taxes on this until I’m dead.”

Court documents dating back 20 years confirm Ensley’s statement about tax liens filed against Cure. They also show Cure had years of unpaid county and town taxes, as well.

When asked about Ensley’s comment regarding her tax payment situation, Cure said she is seeking the advice of legal counsel and doesn’t want to discuss the issue.

Comments (3)
Posted by: Bruce and Carole Larivee | Apr 27, 2013 09:44

"Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society."...Oliver Wendell Holmes

I gladly pay taxes because I love Haywood County, North Carolina, and the U.S.A.   One hopes that Ms. Cure does not avail herself of any government services since she refuses to pay for them.  One hopes she does not drive on our roads, expect police and fire protection, clean water and uncontaminated food.

Carole Larivee



Posted by: Allen Alsbrooks | Apr 27, 2013 20:09

It's sad how these commissioners act like school yard bullies when they are challenged. I recall the meeting back in February at Rendezvous Lounge where the few who showed to try and push their plan walked out when a few of us challenged their Gaul to even suggest raising any kind of tax in the current economy.

And for the record, so Mr. Ensley can't try and embarrass me in a public forum, I am currently in arrears with my tax owed to the county. Which i am working diligently to catch up if you people don't run off our tourists first. And like it or not i still stand against any increase in taxes. So there.

 

Allen Alsbrooks

lmmkeeper

Hearth & Home Inn

 

MAGGIE VALLEY, NC



Posted by: Charles Harrell | May 02, 2013 14:39

As an industrial manager, I often noticed that those folks that screamed the loudest about safety were some of the most unsafe people in the work place. I guess the same goes for tax payers (or non-tax payers). County council members are  people and people don't like to be insulted or accused of wrong doing, especially by the same people over and over. I'm sure that if everyone was paying their fair share, this proposed tax increase would not be needed.

Charlie Harrell



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