Push on to hike taxes on Jack Daniel's

Jack Daniel's visitors center.
LYNCHBURG, TN -- The Jack Daniel's company pays nearly 60% of the price of a bottle of its whiskey in some form of tax. It also pays for about a third of Moore County's tax base.

Not enough, says one local resident who is spearheading a campaign to get the whiskey giant to pay for a few more things in the county -- such as schools, roads, brides and a water treatment plant.

Charlie Rogers says the county is "entitled" to more of the company's money.

"They created the image of this little old hamlet down here being the place where this fantastic whiskey is being made ... and the people didn't realize what was going on. They were being marketed all over the world as 'the place'."

Rogers began his push back in 2007 when he asked the town council to approve such additional taxes. The idea was dismissed then, but this year the council approved a resolution asking the state's General Assembly delegation to introduce a private act that would enable Moore County residents to at least vote on such a tax. If that is successful, the locality would have to get signatures from registered voters equal to 10% of the vote in the last presidential election tyo get a barrel tax on the ballot.

Responds Tommy  Beam, general manager of the Brown-Forman-owned distiller, sees the push as a potential job killer.

"We're paying our part, our fair share," Beam said, noting that the distillery has already helped the area in several ways, including assisting with renovations at the courthouse,  a swimming pool and donated land for a public park, in addition to all its taxes. "We operate as a partner with the county."

Jack Daniel's is the county's largest employer, with a work force of about 450, and also brings more than 200,000 visitors a year into the area.

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