Tate & Lyle Stinks

Literally and Figuratively 

If you've ever been in Loudon on the right days, or in Tellico Village or east Loudon County or west Loudon County, or anywhere in Loudon County, chances are you've had the misfortune to smell that sickly, sweet stink that comes out of the Tate & Lyle plant when they're cooking corn. And it does stink.

But I'll tell you what stinks worse than that, it's what Tate & Lyle has decided to do to the tax payers of Loudon County, Loudon City and even Lenoir City.

For more than thirty years, Tate & Lyle and the previous operators of the corn syrup manufacturer have had good relations with the local community and governments. But now, they have decided they don't want to pay they're appropriately assessed property taxes. Not only are they legally disputing their taxes they have now sent notice that they do not intend to pay their full assessment of their 2016 taxes to the tune of nearly a million dollars. This is a big deal.

This means a huge loss in expected revenue to the county, county schools, the city of Loudon and even Lenoir City schools. All will be impacted by the loss of that mush revenue. Loudon may feel the impact more than the others given that nearly a quarter of their revenues comes from Tate & Lyle taxes. If all the local entities do ultimately lose these decades long tax revenues, we the little tax payers could be stuck with having to pick up the balance. This is essentially corporate welfare.

Tate & Lyle is a British-based multinational agribusiness. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange. They're 2016 fiscal report shows net sales or revenues to be 3.55 billion dollars.

In legal action that started several years ago, Tate & Lyle brought in big wheel legal and professional help from Chicago and Memphis and no telling where else to dispute their tax obligations through the many layers of legal steps knowing full well the challenges faced by our small local governments to meet their challenge. In fact this has been going on for more than five years now. It has been and will continue to be a very complicated process and we, the local tax payers, have no choice but to meet their challenge to the best of our ability, meaning legal fees, professionals and all the associated costs. Talk about your David and Goliath match up, this is it.

You have to wonder why the biggest industry in the county has decided to turn on the very community that welcomed them even with all the associated issues that came with such an industry. I understand that the Tate & Lyle local management may not be the driving force behind this betrayal but it's the big corporate muckity mucks in their high rise offices in Chicago or maybe even England who think of nothing but their profits.

To add insult to injury, next month Tate & Lyle is planning a big ribbon cutting on a multi million dollar addition to their plant. They've invited all the local and state elected officials and dignitaries to their event. I guess we're just suppose to pretend we don't know what they're doing to us or maybe they think we're just to dumb to get it. I, for one, won't be there shaking hands and slapping backs while they're stabbing us in the back.

I say again, if Tate & Lyle ultimately gets their way, Loudon, Loudon County, county schools and Lenoir City schools will be hit and hit hard. But ultimately, it could be the average Loudon County tax payer that will really take the hit.