Posts Tagged ‘MUSCOGEE COUNTY’

Has the Time Come to End the Columbus Property Tax Freeze?

January 12, 2011

PETE ROBINSON SAYS IT HAS.

Attorney, lobbyist, and former Columbus state legislator Pete Robinson ran the end-the-property-tax- freeze  flag up the political flagpole again. Now, we’ll get to see how many Columbus citizens salute it this time.  Twice before freeze-enders got shot down in referendums, and the freeze was upheld in a state supreme court ruling.

Times are different now, Robinson told Columbus Rotarians today. A lot of people who work and use Columbus public services don’t own property in Columbus any more.  Columbus basically depends on property taxes to pay for government services, and since counties that don’t have tax freezes, such as Harris in Georgia, and Russell is Alabama, are more attractive to people who buy new homes, the tax digest in Columbus simply isn’t going to be enough to finance the Columbus-Muscogee County government.

In order to tax those people who live in other counties, but work in Columbus and use Columbus infrastructure, there has to be a change. One is is to depend more on sales taxes – he called it “consumption” taxes – and another is to institute a Columbus income tax. And ending the freeze will also encoruage more people to buy homes in Columbus.

Sales taxes, the most regressive because lower-income people pay a higher percentage of their income than upper-income people, are already high enough in my book.  I’d lean more toward an income tax. Also, I have never thought the property tax freeze was a good idea.  When a new homeowner moves in and has to pay $2,000 in property taxes and his  or her neighbor, who has been living for 20 years in the house next door that is of the same value, pays $100, you know something is wrong.

I asked Robinson if he really thought there was a chance in hell the tax freeze would end. “It has to!” he said emphatically.

I’m sure our new mayor Teresa Tomlinson will be very interested in seeing how Columbus citizens react to Robinson’s position.

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“Democrat” is Not a Bad Word in Muscogee County

October 24, 2010

Election 2010 is upon us, about a week away.  If the polls are right, Republicans will be in control in Washington and Georgia, but not necessarily in Muscogee County.  Since Republicans maintain a high-profile  in the county, you might think they are the majority. Look at recent election results and you’ll see they are not.  Muscogee County regularly goes for the Democratic nominee for president.  And locally, the last sheriff and district attorney races make the point. 

I was reading a letter to the Ledger-Enquirer that made a big deal about the writer’s candidate for mayor being a “conservative” and accusing others of being “Obama Democrats.”   That person just doesn’t understand the reality of Muscogee County politics.  Being a Democrat is a plus in county-wide races, not a liability.  Besides, some Democrats are also conservatives, especially when it comes to matters fiscal.

Yes, Republicans may gain control of the Congress and retain control of the Georgia legislature.  The end result, though,  probably will not be all that bad for Democrats.  If Republicans are in control and things don’t get a lot better than they are right now, they probably won’t stay in control for very long.  But, then, in Georgia,  just look at the shape the state is in after 8 years of Republican control, with water, transportation and education problems worse not better, and despite that, they are poised to remain in control.  Surely, over time, Georgia voters will wake up if things continue on the down slope.  Surely. Surely?

Ah, but in Washington, they’ll be able to blame lack of progress on President Obama vetoes, some will say. That tactic didn’t work with President Clinton. He got reelected.  There is a very good chance it won’t work with President Obama, either.  

Meanwhile, don’t let all of the partisan rancor upset you.  Just have a good meal at the Taste of Lemon. Never heard of the Taste of Lemon?  Well, stay tuned.