The Chamber of Commerce said it is backing a 34-cent property tax increase sought by County School Supt. Bryan Johnson.
Christy Gillenwater, president, said, "The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to champion our member businesses and promote regional economic growth. Cultivating a well-qualified workforce is imperative to successful economic development efforts and quality public education is critical to fulfilling our mission.
"In order for Hamilton County to build on past success and achieve the Velocity2040 vision in which we are the South’s smartest community, we believe Hamilton County students need the tools to learn and graduate ready for the 21st century workplace.
These students are the future lifeblood of our workforce.
"Business community tax assessments comprised 49% of the 2018 Hamilton County Schools operating budget, county records show. Our businesses play a critical role in educating our students. Given these facts, it’s important for the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce to weigh in on the public discussion about how our tax dollars are spent.
"Given the strong accountability measures laid out in the Future Ready 2023 plan and the progress shown thus far, we agree with Superintendent Bryan Johnson, Ed.D., that now is the time to invest in public education.
"After polling our membership, a majority of respondents support the Chattanooga Chamber endorsing Supt. Johnson’s requested budget. As our county commissioners carefully consider their decisions, it is our hope that they will support what we believe is the path to a successful and prosperous future by fully funding the proposed budget."