Monday, June 23, 2014

Back Door Tax Increase

The blogosphere lit up recently with the observation that Dekalb County Schools will get a 6.54% tax increase by simply leaving their millage rate at the current 23.98 level while letting rising property values do the rest. Some folks are calling this a "Tax Increase" which it is indeed.

But wait just a minute. Isn't that EXACTLY what the City of Dunwoody is doing? It is indeed.

We should speak softly as we call another odious Dekalb kettle black as our own little pot is blackened with the smoke of hypocrisy. As it sits the Dunwoody "Tax Increase" is even more egregious than Dekalb Schools'. The schools tax the entire county and the overall property digest is only going up 6.54%. But as we know, all places are not equal. Recently released data shows that properties located in this county's cities went up 13.1% while properties in unincorporated areas rose a mere 0.9%. That's right, city properties increased almost double the county-wide average.

Now you may argue that Dunwoody properties did not rise as much because they did not fall as much during the real estate collapse but that would be a rationalization at best. And it does not change the actual fact: Dunwoody is doing EXACTLY the same as Dekalb Schools--raking in a back door tax increase.

Get used to it.