Fulton County towns oppose proposed 600% sales tax increase
The cities said this would represent a change of $95 million per year in sales tax revenue.
FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Editor’s note: The video above is from another report.
All towns in Fulton County came together on Friday to oppose the Board of Commissioners’ request to raise local sales tax on options by 600%, officials said.
The tax is now just under 5%, according to the 15-city statement, and the council is considering raising it to 35%.
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“This is a surprising request because in 2012 the county agreed to a negotiated percentage of less than 15%,” their statement read.
They said Fulton County’s service area has shrunk from about 90 square miles since 2012 to less than two square miles, encompassing less than 1,000 residents.
“In reality, the cities provide essential services such as police, fire and sanitation to nearly everyone in Fulton County,” the cities said.
Their statement says the revenue change would be $95 million a year, forcing them to raise property taxes “on nearly all Fulton County residents and businesses at a time when they can least afford it.”
The 15 cities declared themselves united against the request, but added that they would work with the board of commissioners to “achieve a reasonable distribution of the sales tax” and would schedule a meeting scheduled for Friday, July 29 at 10 a.m. where they will present their dissemination ideas.
College Park Mayor Bianca Motley Broom called the proposal a “devastating blow” to essential services in the city.
“Our first responders, including police and firefighters, would be directly affected by the cuts. As a community heavily reliant on tourism, hospitality and travel, we are only just beginning to recover financially from a loss of 18 million as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Balai said. “Our general fund reserves have been depleted by more than 30% during this time. Fulton County’s position is therefore untenable. quite disappointing.”
Fulton County said in a statement late Friday that it appreciates its partnership with its cities.
“Today we began our good faith negotiations for the distribution of local options sales tax revenue over the next decade,” Fulton County said.
Fulton County added that it is mandated by Georgia law to “provide services that protect the constitutional and property rights of more than one million Fulton County residents, regardless of city of residence, including judicial services, public health, emergency management, elections and much more.”
Prior to 2006, Fulton County reported that its share of local option sales tax distribution for countywide service delivery was approximately 35%. The county said that over the past 17 years, demand for countywide services has increased and additional services have been added as population and costs have increased dramatically. Fulton County said that during this time its LOST revenue share fell below 5%. According to the county, it does not provide fair relief to property taxpayers across the country.
“Today we shared our desire to return to the LOST distribution share prior to full municipalization. This proposed amount recognizes the services provided to every resident of Fulton County, in all 15 cities and would also result in a tax reduction net on tax bills for 86% of all taxable packages,” Fulton County said in a statement. “We look forward to continued fruitful discussions with cities.”