Richmond County government wants to shift blame by saying property tax increases are due to inflation. Inflation is the justification, not the cause.
Property taxes are going up because of government spending. The county only has to generate enough revenue to cover what spend. Out-of-control spending in the last few years in particular have made the property tax increase necessary.
Rather than raising the millage rate, which is politically unpopular, the government increases the propert assessed value and blame inflation for the increase. Either way residents get a tax increase, and the increase pays for increased government spending.
Last year, I wrote columns about property taxes and how they are a larger burden on renters than homeowners. I hate to say “I told you so” but these tax increases could have been avoided Richmond Countyspending.
Richmond County has an affordable housing crisis. No comprehensive solutions have been proposed that will tackle the problem. The ugly truth that nobody wants to admit is the local government exacerbated the problem with out-of-control spending, leading to property tax increases.
On August 9, 2021 my column titled “Property Tax Increases Hurt Apartment Renters Most” explained that for every dollar local government raises property taxes landlords go up on tenants rent. Government officials then blame landlords and want to try and regulate how much rent can be charged all the while failing to realize that they caused the problem. Every dollar that property taxes, stormwater fees and utilities increase landlords must recapture by going up on tenant’s rent. To make matters worse, interest rates are on the rise, which has a similar impact on the debit side. Tenants are the casualties who get stuck paying the increase and suffer the most. The tax increases make the affordable housing crisis worse.
On Oct. 11, 2021 I wrote the column “Government Spending is One Cause of Affordable Housing Crisis Former City Administrator Odie Donald II brought tax
Even if the budget is balanced with all of the federal dollars flowing from COVID relief all of the payroll increases, new positions, departmental budget increases and new will have to be paid for by additional property tax increases in the coming years.
Every dollar that the former administrator committed Augusta to spend will have to be paid for and the majority of that burden is going to get passed along to renters.
Probably the most controversial article I have written was related to the Coliseum Authority’s plan for a new arena. Written on Nov. 1, 2021 just a day before the vote, the article was titled “Majority of New Arena Cost Will Be Paid By Renters and Businesses” I received more feedback, both positive and negative, on that article than any written last year.
While I am still in favor of a new arena downtown, had the vote differently it would have resulted in even higher property tax bills for Richmond County residents.
With a new leadership being elected I hope that spending will get back under control and come up with a plan to reduce the property tax burden that is saddling so many Richmond County residents.