MOUNT VERNON — Driving in and around Knox County can cause one to occasionally come across an Amish buggy in the road. While getting stuck in a line of cars waiting to pass the slower-traveling horse and buggy can sometimes be a temporary irritant, remember that it’s only temporary — and only a little irritant at that. Some people may be quick to jump in claiming that the Amish don’t have the same rights to our roads as motorists since they don’t pay the same taxes. Or do they?
While the Amish do not pay a gasoline tax, they do pay real estate taxes, with a portion of this going to road maintenance, according to Holmes County Auditor Jackie McKee. “We pay because we use it,” said McKee, in referring to our automobile use of county and township roads. She added that nearly 40 percent of the population in Holmes County is Amish.
Knox County Clerk of Courts Mary Jo Hawkins explained that while the Amish do pay real estate tax and income tax, some of them on occasion may purchase an automobile and have the title put in a neighbor’s name so they can be driven around. Funds taken in from automobile titles do go toward road maintenance as well.
Eli Yoder, a member of an Amish community near Butler, admitted he does not pay the same gas tax that motorists do, but there is a collection taken from those who drive a horse and buggy that is similar to a gas tax.
“It’s kind of like an honor system,” said Yoder. “A collection is taken by a trustee or committee member from all of us, and it then goes to county and township representatives.”
Yoder stated that a township trustee was once rather surprised with the large amount of money taken in through these donations.