Thursday, April 30, 2009

Atlanta tax hike proposed to end police furloughs

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 7:45 PM

click to enlarge Shirley aims to raise taxes
  • Shirley aims to raise taxes

As we blogged on Tuesday, Mayor Shirley Franklin appeared before the City Council this morning to propose a 3-mill tax increase for the city's 2010 budget, which kicks in on July 1. If approved as proposed, the unpopular furloughs for the police and fire department would end in three months.

How much is 3 mills? Franklin told the Council it was roughly a 7-percent increase for taxpayers. According to her, the way it would work out that if you own a $200,000 house, you'll pay an additional $200 this fall. For anyone with a $1 million home, the hit is closer to $1,200.

The mayor is actually proposing less spending than was approved in the current budget — $541 million, compared to $573 million. That's because city revenues have been steadily falling. Unfortunately, budget projections suggest the city will only collect about $485 million next year — hence, the proposed tax hike.

Last year, the Council voted unanimously to reject a much smaller tax increase, asking Franklin to instead cut personnel and services. The result was the furloughs. It's already quite clear that this time around, it's a whole new ball game.

This is an election year, so for some members of Council — especially those from the northern half of the city — a vote to raise taxes is tantamount to political suicide. Others, however, have likely heard enough complaints about crime that they're willing to risk giving Franklin what she wants and take their chances with the voters. Anne Fauver, who's not running for reelection, has already signaled her willingness to go along with a tax hike.

"I'm prepared to approve a tax increase to end the furloughs for all employees," announced Jim Maddox at this morning's budget meeting. In other words, he doesn't think the proposed tax hike is large enough.

Teabaggers, start your engines.

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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