Rutherford County Property Assessor Rob Mitchell is on record saying state legislation HB2038 is a clear violation of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee.
The property assessor told the governor, "It is blatant and unjustified corporate welfare. Our Attorney General has issued two opinions siting this fact. Brown and Foreman decided not to avail themselves of our well established legal process as every other citizen of Tennessee must do in such situations. They sought to change the law rather than follow it."
Mitchell continued, "The liquor industry did an excellent job of distorting the truth to the General Assembly of Tennessee. They argued the business personal property tax on the barrels was a new tax. That was a completely untrue. Just as we are required to self-report our income for the federal income tax, every business is required to list business property for local property taxation.( These local taxes go to support our local schools, public safety initiatives and local community libraries and senior citizen centers.) Just because someone failed to report income to the IRS does not mean it is a new tax when they are audited and the IRS comes to collect."
He noted, "The liquor lobbyists claim the barrels are inventory and thus not taxable. Just like the toothy fairy that is also a blatant fairy tale. They themselves pushed for legislation, which you signed into law, defining that aging in new charred oak barrels is part of their liquor manufacturing process. Equipment and articles used in manufacturing are taxable and always have been. Many distilleries in Tennessee already report and pay the taxes on this equipment. In the case of the barrels; they are taxable only so long as they age whiskey."
Rutherford County's property assessor concluded, "Brown and Foreman, the huge holding company from Kentucky who owns Jack Daniels, pays a barrel tax in their home State of Kentucky. They also pay a distilled spirits tax in Kentucky as well on the contents in the barrels. Our legislature has passed an unconstitutional bill. It hurts the average property owner who now must pay Brown and Foreman's property tax for them."
Mitchel then boldly stated, "I respectfully request you veto this bill, HB2038."