Fulton County has decided to increase their taxes by seventeen percent, or 1.57 mils. As a resident, I have a problem with that, and would encourage all who are able to place a call into Chairman John Eaves office 404-612-8206 and your commissioner’s office to oppose it. The vote is set to occur today.
While I am rarely in favor of new taxes, I can usually be obliging of SPLOSTs. I can also understand how taxes must also be raised occasionally and moderately to maintain the necessary process of government. However, seventeen percent!?! This seems excessive at best. My income nor property value has not risen at the same rate and therefore I find it hard to believe that the Fulton County Commission could be so naïve to assume this is a well timed increase.
I particularly find this increase deplorable as I am a resident (of both City of Atlanta and Fulton) whose Fair Market Value was never decreased on her tax bill during the recession. I even challenged Fulton County, but the Board of Equalization determined that I not have sufficient evidence of property value decrease in my area to necessitate a decrease in my FMV. I also run my business and have my home within the city limits of Atlanta. I am paying taxes left and right. And why?
Fulton County has deemed the increase requisite due to falling property values across the county. Here’s a thought: if people’s values are less, that usually means less property is being bought as a result of having less income. Why does this seem like a good time to increase taxes?
Further, we only saw a moderate decrease in the last year. Yet Fulton continues its path of spending with seemingly no regard for its actual income. In 2012, Fulton announced that it was looking for a new lobbyist. The firm that had served them well at $170K was something they would have to dutifully consider before renewing again. Seemed logical and fiscally responsible, doesn’t it? Except that they hired the next firm at $250K per annum.
And why would a county need a lobbyist? Well I’m glad you asked. This was in preparation to Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones sponsoring HB 604 to prohibit Fulton County from increasing taxes in 2014. This bill has been signed into law by the Governor on May 6, 2013.
Now let me be clear: I’m not interested in a state dictating to a local government much of anything, much less how and when to collect taxes. However, I do wonder how this violation of law will now play out. Fulton County has had a slow ebb of power and respect over the past ten years so much so that the state feels it necessary to protect Fulton taxpayers from their own government. This tax increase will not only violate law, it will further add fuel to the fire of residents and businesses who are less moderate than me. I cannot help but assume that it will cause some folks to consider moving to neighboring Cobb or further. Fulton should weigh this vote carefully and be ready for the blow back that will inevitably ensue. I could understand five, or even eight percent increase. At this point I would stomach ten percent, but seventeen percent?? That’s bold, even for Fulton.
What at first was plunder assumed the softer name of revenue. ~Thomas Paine