Oh Lord! I'm going to be in trouble with some folks over this one.
Here's what they'll say: "How can we offer the kinds of services the community wants by having lower taxes? We NEED tax revenues to pay for the government we've already got!"
Of course, my first reaction is "Well, we've already got more government than we need and can pay for!" BUT, I won't even go there. Let's stick with premise that Cobb Countians actually WANT all the government we're having to rob Peter to pay Paul for.
Listen up! If we do this right, we'll never have to sneak another $20 million tax increase hidden in our water bills ever again. In fact, in a few short years we'd be awash with revenue so great even our commissioners won't be able to spend it all. OK. Maybe that's a stretch. But, you get the idea.
Here's the basic idea. NEVER RAISE PROPERTY TAXES AGAIN! That's right! Determine the property tax rate needed to pay for the government we have TODAY and never raise taxes again.
I know. I know. "How will we ever meet the demands of a growing community or keep up with inflation?" Here's how:
Once someone buys a piece of property, whether a home, a commercial property or raw land, THAT is the property tax they will pay on that piece of property until ownership is transferred at which time the property will be assessed at its current market value and taxes recalculated accordingly.
By permanently fixing the taxes an owner will EVER pay, we encourage investment on property in Cobb County. Individuals and investors gobble up foreclosed residential properties. Developers and employers buy commercial property to take advantage of potential savings.
Investors and owners invest in their properties to increase their value and their cash flow. The result is increased property values across all of Cobb County. Natural turnover ensures an ever-growing, expanding tax base, stable ownership and demographics.
The implications of having Cobb County become a tax haven are a stable and predictable (yet growing) tax base and revenues, more stable funding for our school system and an environment that puts us at the forefront of economic development in the metro area and state.
Good stable, high paying jobs will be one of the end results of such a tax strategy. We get lower taxes with excellent funding without degrading public services whatsoever.
Now, just imagine if we could (or would) find some creative ways of reducing our government spending without degrading services as well. THAT is available, too! Maybe next time.