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Hall taxpayers’ voices are not being heard

POSTED: June 15, 2011 1:00 a.m.

The Board of Commissioners' public budget hearing at the Georgia Mountains Center was a fiasco. Though there was a great turnout, but inadequate meeting space left a large crowd outside. I was one of the lucky ones that was able to slip in after the meeting began.

Inside, it seemed fairly clear that half or more of those in attendance were government employees who had arrived early enough to get seats. Having talked with a number of people outside, the issue of the evening was overwhelmingly the raising of the millage rate. Inside, the issue of a tax hike seemed to be a foregone conclusion.

My concern is that those who pay property taxes in Hall County are not being heard on this issue. One would get the impression from this last Board of Commissioners meeting that we, the taxed, are demanding higher taxes. Those who pay property taxes in Hall County should be livid.

I am a pastor, and because of the economic downturn, my salary has been cut twice since 2008 (over 20 percent in all). We are having to dip into savings each month just to put food on the table. I am in this situation because a large portion of our population is in a similar situation and it is reflected in what people are able to give.

If I were to bully people into giving more to cover our deficit, it would be seen as the height of insensitivity, and rightly so. This, however, is exactly what our government is doing with tax increases.

The bottom line is that property owners should not be asked to pay more than we are already paying. It's already too much! To demand more in such times as these is tyranny.

Robert Truelove


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