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Almost all of commission on correct business license course

McDuffie County Commissioners used their second mulligan to perfection.

After their third vote in 18 months on the Occupation Tax Ordinance - which creates a business license program in the unincorporated areas - commissioners did the right thing and passed the measure.

Several had been afraid of increasing the burden on business owners by creating what they called "an extra layer of government." But those fears were ultimately outweighed by the need to create a mechanism to better govern potentially dangerous businesses.

The extra income from the licensing fees will also assist the county in balancing an already squeaky budget without the need for a property tax increase. That's something voters are sure to remember when elections roll around.

While passing out kudos to the commission as a whole, a special pat on the back should go to Commissioner Sammie Wilson, who is the only member of the board to vote in favor of the ordinance all three times.

In the midst of improper abstentions and speculative fears, Commissioner Wilson saw through the haze surrounding the business license program and voted for what would best benefit the county, each time it arose.

Despite its passing, one move that appears strictly political should stick out in the minds of McDuffie County residents during this process. The lone vote against the ordinance came from Commissioner Fred Favors.

Admittedly, Rev. Favors was one of the leading opponents of the ordinance from the beginning, saying it would cause the county to enforce state licensing of certain professions such as cosmetologists. He didn't want the county to shut down those operations when the state should, but the problem is, those without state licenses are breaking the law.

Once the ordinance came back up in recent months, Rev. Favors had changed his tune saying during a meeting that he "sees the positives of it." Apparently he didn't see enough positives in it.

A vote against the measure allows Rev. Favors to claim to constituents against it that he was on their side. Yet, it also allows him to say to those in favor of business licenses that the measure passed the commission and would soon be in place.

If the move is purely political, such a shaky stand could be a gold mine for Rev. Favors. But it is up to the voters in his district to distinguish between a gold mine and what is nothing more than a useless hole in the ground.

Web posted on Thursday, August 10, 2006

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