When the grand jury issued a call to the voters for caution on the HOST 1 percent sales tax, it was unprecedented. No one can remember a grand jury presentment — mid-term — for the purpose of influencing voters.
The grand jury even interviewed county CFO Janelle Funk, who failed to convince the grand jury this was a good idea.
Local Tea Party leaders agree a Fair Tax is best, but this is not a Fair Tax. It is a permanent tax and your property taxes will still rise.
Even Sen. Rogers admits that he will write a better bill down the road.
The success of HOST depends on accurate sales tax projections. The $30 million projected annual revenues are flawed and overestimated. This is one of the major problems that caused HOST to be considered a failure in the only two counties to adopt HOST — Dekalb and Rockdale. They watched their property taxes rise almost immediately.
The more accurate sales tax number is $26 to 27 million including sales from the new outlet mall — if the economy holds. After pointing out the errors and asking commissioners to change the number, it was immediately raised to $31 million.
The commissioners promise a non-binding resolution to apply 100 percent collections to property tax relief. However the law only requires 80 percent be applied. How long will a non-binding resolution hold if sales tax falls short of projections?
HOST maxes out the sales tax limit at 7 cents on the dollar. Groceries and medicine will be taxed. Homeowners will lose their property tax deductions. Renters will be double taxed.
While the commissioners are promising property tax relief, the new budget calls for raising your property taxes on the parks bond.
Cherokee County does not have a revenue problem — it has a spending problem. The present commissioners raised local taxes eight times for eight consecutive years. Non-essential expenses must be cut.
If we can’t get our commissioners to stop spending with no money, how will we ever get them to stop spending with more money?
Fair Tax is an across the board tax system that does not pit one group of citizens against another. That’s the dirty little secret about how taxes get raised. Every new tax proposal is about how someone else will pay. Perhaps it’s true that 20 percent of sales tax is paid by visitors to the county — but don’t we all shop outside our county too?
Keeping sales tax low will motivate our families to spend money in county and attract shoppers for the cheapest sales tax in the metro region!
The grand jury should be thanked for speaking out. We can do better. Let’s wait for a better bill.
Chairman Canton Tea Party