Enough Is Enough Property Tax Increase - And Response (2)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

"The goal is to make sure that more seniors can stay in their homes and make sure that more people can live the life that they want here in our city," Berke told several dozen elderly Chattanoogans. 

What about my ability to live the life I want in our city? I already pay the city and county over $300 per month to live in my own house. For this, I get constant petty crime, absolutely unacceptable schools, potholed roads and bike lanes with no bikes in them.  

We already pay school taxes plus private tuition. We pay for police but also require alarms on our homes. We pay for roads and but also car repairs from the poor roads. Now our elegant mayor wants us to carry the load for the old folks as well.

Is there ever a limit to how much of our income the politicians crave? I don't think there is and if we don't start standing up to this sort of naked theft it will never end.

Let's make sure that our city councilmen understand that property owners are shouldering more than our fair share of the burden already. 

F.L. Benton 

* * *

I concur with the assertions of F.L. Benton. The roads we travel are sadly neglected.  Slapping asphalt into holes here and there does not constitute maintenance.  We spend money to knock down trees and reconfigure Miller Park when we have many more pressing needs.  Parks are not safe, nor are neighborhoods.  

But we are supposed to pony up more money to support poor leadership and agendas that don't consider us? Why should working people make up for all the tax breaks given to developers who do not fulfill the requirements of their PILOT agreements?  At some point, there must be accountability on the part of those who hold these purse strings.  

I have yet to see anything more than arrogance and excuses.  I too hope the City Council is mindful of all the citizens it serves. 

Darlene Kilgore 

* * * 

F.L. Benton is kinda barking up the wrong tree about the mayor's proposed senior tax freeze.  The state offered that tax freeze option years ago, but it's voluntary and only a third of Tennessee counties have bought into the concept.  It's no new thing, just a nice-sounding notion for politicians to wave around when they need some extra attention.

A major problem is the restriction on seniors' income is so severe that not all geriatrics will qualify for any tax freeze.  And when all the math is done, the total impact on tax revenue is pretty small. 

But there are some other truly good places to look for the hemorrhaging of tax money -- some real gold mines, in a negative sort of way. 

First, and most obvious, are the budgets of the various local governments; those lists of absolutely necessary, completely unavoidable, totally mandatory expenses are endless.  They're like kids' Christmas wish lists to Santa Claus, but without the common sense and judgment that honest children have. 

Second, the county and city have a lot of idle property laying around that provides no property tax income at all.  That is, of course, in addition to all of the deals they make not to collect taxes on various active properties. 

Third, and maybe not so obvious, there are those long lists of salaries for Hamilton County, the city of Chattanooga, and the Department of Education.  They publish only the salaries from $60,000 and up -- way up, into the $200,000 range.  That's where you'll find the names of a lot of local folks who suddenly, quietly, and oh! so surprisingly! just got a genuine 5 percent to 10 percent property tax cut.  Their tax bills this fall will be lower than last year. 

That's right -- some folks got really serious tax cuts, although half the people in Hamilton County and the city of Chattanooga got property tax increases because of high reappraisals.  Those 5 percent, 10 percent, and 15 percent real increases in real tax bills that we real local citizens must pay in real dollars this fall -- that's what makes up for losses in tax revenue elsewhere.  That's the transfusion of cash that compensates for the spending/hemorrhaging.  They just bleed us dry. 

Meanwhile, the city's chief operating officer (2016 salary -- $129,000+) must think we're all complete idiots when she calls the new city tax rate a tax cut.  The new certified rate is required by state law to produce the same total property tax income as last year.  But as already pointed out, there's no limit to how much of our income the politicians crave.  The last thing they worry about is our ability to survive, let alone live the life we want. 

Larry Cloud
Chattanooga and Hamilton County taxpayer

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