Augusta mayor pro tem on tax increase: 'Suck it up'

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, July 17, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The numbers are in, and thanks to less income from the state fire insurance premium tax, your taxes are going up.

"Chris, I'm one of those people that doesn't want a tax increase. If that's what we have to do, I'm going to have to bear down and suck it up," said Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles.

"Is that what you are saying to folks?" News 12's Chris Thomas asked.

"Pretty much," he replied.

Pretty much, you'll have to suck up paying a little more than $19 on a $100,000 home.

"So you're recommending a tax increase?" Thomas said.

"Pretty much, while the state doesn't technically call it that, it is, in fact, an increase," said City Administrator Fred Russell.

"The term rollback is really kind of a false impression that you are going to get a tax break," Bowles said.

Interestingly enough, with talk of a tax increase, the city is also announcing a surplus from last year.

Just how much? We're talking $1.5 million to possibly knock down delapidated homes.

"I'm saying that that would be an option that I think the commisison ought to consider," Russell said.

"I would say before you move to Columbia County, I would wait and see if TSPLOST is passed ... because if it is, I'll be headed over to North Augusta with you," Bowles said.

He's talking about the suggested penny sales tax for transportation improvements.

"If we're going to be crazy enough to tax ourselves one more penny, I''ll probably do a lot of my shopping across the river," Bowles said.

"For us, as a border city, to support an additional penny sales tax and do that to our local retailers is insane, in my opinion," he said.

Russell said taxpayers will pay about $385 a year for all city services. He insists that is a reasonable deal.


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