A Former Mayor, Big Business And The Real Reason Your Taxes Just Went Up - And Response

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Here's my takeaway from today's public hearing regarding the property tax increase. During the public comment period, the first person to speak was former Mayor Jon Kinsey. In essence, this was his message, 

"I pay half a million dollars a year in property taxes. I support the increase. Please vote yes to increase taxes." 

But this is what was really left unsaid by the former mayor: 

"I don't mind if you increase taxes on the masses and the little guy, small business and little old ladies. Just be sure to give me my crony tax breaks when I come asking for them. By the way, thanks for the big tax break a couple years ago for my Chattanooga Choo Choo project." 

And so, the City Council and County Commission both voted to increase property taxes this week. (Both bodies only had one vote against the increase, Chip Henderson and Tim Boyd.) 

Claiming it was to cover a shortfall, these elected officials so quickly forget that it was they who caused the shortfall, if it truly exists.  Their frivolous granting of tax breaks for big business and favored individuals has cost the community $20 million in lost revenue in just one year.  And according to Helen Burns Sharp at Accountability for Taxpayer Money, the total of these tax breaks via the PILOT program could be as high as $400 million over 30 years. 

So, the real reason for the tax increase, is not because our rates were too low, but rather that your elected officials have done such a poor job in applying those tax rates consistently and fairly to big business. They would rather raise taxes on the little guy, than look big business in the eye and say "Hey, pay your fair share." 

So when you write your check next year for your property tax increase, just thank guys like former Mayor Kinsey, the Chamber of Commerce, and, of course, your elected officials. They don't care about the little guy. Their votes over these many years affirm this. 

Mark West

* * *

I humbly disagree. Andy Berke is just another big money, good ole boy mayor of Chattanooga in a long line of the sort.

I completely blame him and the City Council for the gridlock in downtown during every rush hour.

Now they will raise property taxes to pay for all of the PILOTs that were handed out to developers from this town and beyond.

We are blocked in by the three bridges.

Great work, Andy and City Council.

Alison Falinski

Elizabeth Baker Has Been Fighting For Us

My fellow Republicans of District 2, I have good news for you. We have a citizen who has been working for us at local and state levels to protect our county assets (fighting the Gardenhire bill), to ensure our children have opportunities of public education  (fighting for the rights of the students on Waldens Ridge to not be excluded from their county school in Signal Mountain ... (click for more)

Fortunate To Have Greg Martin

The residences of the third district in Hamilton are fortunate to have had Greg Martin as our county commissioner since 2016.  Greg Martin served District 3 as the representative on the Hamilton County School Board from March of 2012 to November of 2016. Greg and his family have attended the schools in third district of Hamilton County and Martin’s wife, Sheila, is a teacher ... (click for more)

Man Killed, Passenger Seriously Injured; Driver Of Other Vehicle Hurt In Accident On Suck Creek Road Saturday Morning

One person was killed and two others injured in a head-on crash on Suck Creek Road on Saturday morning. The accident at 8:45 a.m. at the 2100 block of Suck Creek Road involved a Kia Sedona mini-van and a Hyundai Elantra. Preliminary results indicate that the Hyundai Elantra was traveling southbound on Suck Creek Road and, while negotiating a curve, ... (click for more)

A Jury For 2nd Time Convicts Randall Reed Of Murdering 70-Year-Old Woman In 2011

A jury for the second time has convicted Randall Reed of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of 70-year-old Jane Stokes in East Ridge. The verdict was returned in the courtroom of Judge Tom Greenholtz’s on Friday. The earlier verdict had been thrown out by an appeals court. Reed testified in his own behalf. The victim was murdered in her home during a robbery in 2011. ... (click for more)

Mongar Succeeds Massey As Lady Owls Softball Coach

In an absolute twist of fate, Kerilyn Mongar has taken over the Ooltewah High School girls’ softball program following the resignation of Jon Massey shortly after the 2018 state tournament. Massey has since been named boys’ baseball coach at Silverdale Baptist Academy and Mongar, who coached at East Ridge for three years, now has the task of continuing the Lady Owls’ highly ... (click for more)

UTC Wrestling Coach Heath Eslinger Resigns

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Mark Wharton announced the resignation of wrestling head coach Heath Eslinger today.  Eslinger, who spent nine seasons as head coach of his alma mater, informed Wharton of his decision this morning.  "It was always my hope that Heath Eslinger spend the rest of his career leading our wrestling ... (click for more)