Column: The Horrible Truth About Local Property Tax Increases

The Richmond County government wants to shift the blame by saying property tax increases are due to inflation. Inflation is the justification, not the cause.

Property taxes are increasing due to government spending. The county only has to generate enough revenue to cover expenses. The uncontrolled spending of recent years in particular has made it necessary to increase the property tax.

Rather than increasing the mileage rate, which is politically unpopular, the government increases the assessed value of the property and blames inflation for the increase. In either case, residents benefit from a tax increase, and the increase pays for the increase in public spending.

Last year I wrote about property taxes and how they are a bigger burden on renters than on landlords. I hate to say “I told you so”, but these tax increases could have been avoided in Richmond County spending.

Richmond County is experiencing an affordable housing crisis. No global solution has been offered to solve the problem. The sad truth that no one wants to admit is that the local government has exacerbated the problem with out-of-control spending, leading to property tax increases.

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On August 9, 2021, my column titled “Property Tax Increases Hurt Apartment Renters the Most” explained that for every dollar the local government raises property taxes, landlords raise rent for renters. Government officials then blame landlords and want to try to regulate the amount of rent that can be charged while not realizing they caused the problem. Every dollar that property taxes, storm water fees and utilities go up, landlords have to recoup by raising the tenant’s rent. To make matters worse, interest rates are on the rise, which has a similar impact on the debtor side. The tenants are the victims who have to pay the increase and who suffer the most. Tax hikes are making the affordable housing crisis worse.

On October 11, 2021, I wrote the column “Government spending is one of the causes of the affordable housing crisis. Former city administrator Odie Donald II introduced the tax and pass policies with him from Atlanta. The result was an inflated budget of just under $1 billion. This sizeable budget is viable within the framework of the tax base then in force. Donald assured everyone there was no tax increase with his budget. Richmond County residents are now aware of the ruse after receiving their new assessments in the mail.

Even if the budget is balanced with all federal dollars from COVID relief, all payroll increases, new positions, departmental budget increases, and new ones will have to be paid for through additional property tax increases. in the years to come.

Every dollar the former administrator has committed to spending on Augusta will have to be paid, and the majority of that burden will be passed on to tenants.

Probably the most controversial article I wrote was related to the Colosseum Authority’s plan for a new arena. Written on November 1, 2021 just a day before the vote, the article was titled “Majority of costs for new arena to be paid by tenants and businesses”. I received more comments, both positive and negative, on this article than any written in the last year.

While I’m still in favor of a new downtown arena, had the vote been different, it would have resulted in even higher property tax bills for Richmond County residents.

With the election of a new leadership, I hope spending will get back in control and come up with a plan to reduce the property tax burden that weighs on so many Richmond County residents.

Joe board is the editor of Augusta’s Press. Join it at [email protected]

Penny D. Jackson