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Hall County’s anti-tax rhetoric is based on myths not facts

POSTED: June 10, 2011 1:00 a.m.

Yes, Chairman Tom Oliver has proposed raising the millage rate to make up for revenue losses due to property values dropping drastically in the last few years. The county commission and school board probably read all of the evaluations during the housing bubble as they cut that same millage rate year after year.

All those that argued to reduce the millage rate as home values rose are lined up to tar and feather those who, like the chairman, are willing to put common sense before political dogma.

The value of my favorite footlong just went up 20 percent much like my unchanged property's valuation over the years. I am surprised there has not been an effort to reduce my SPLOST payment for that extra cent it is costing me in higher taxes.

The county has had its personnel on a furlough-driven reduction in pay for the last several years, that's 8 percent. They changed their retirement from a defined benefit plan to 401(a) years ago, forcing some very good people to retire early. I know of none doing double-dipping in their old job.

Hall County employee benefits were never really super but they have steadily paid more for them. The school board cut the number of days of school, and when hit with inclement weather this year, there was no cushion and they ended up extending hours to meet the bare minimum of time in class.

Some say to defer maintenance. What maintenance? The only things fixed are broken beyond repair and school bus routes have had to be added to intersections where the county roads cannot allow the buses to turn safely.

I noticed that my home's value shot up 65 percent during the last decade as my taxes remained flat; I fully expected for my value to drop and pay near the same in taxes for the spartan services our county provides.

I am sure the "no new taxes" contingent will avail themselves of the new law the General Assembly passed so everyone can reduce their appraised property values by simply going online, to even further exasperate the county's budget woes. That canard the "people's money" never accepts that there are also the, "people's debts," like a couple of wars we're still fighting on Uncle Sam's American Express Card.

Bill Finnick
Flowery Branch



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