When is a millage rate increase NOT a tax increase?
* Cobb house values for tax purposes have been reduced due to the poor housing market.
* Thus, all other things being equal, the amount of real estate tax dollars Cobb property owners will pay this year is less than last year.
* If the millage rate is increased, but not enough to eat up all of the tax savings the taxpayer sees due to the lower house value, the tax dollars he pays this year will still be less than last year.
This point is being missed by many in the Cobb budget debate.
We do not propose that the whole $31 million shortfall be covered by an increase in the millage rate. Certainly expense cuts must be a major consideration.
But it is a mistake to call a millage rate increase an "increase in tax" when, combined with the homeowner's new reduced assessment, his overall property tax bill dollars go down.
The political stigma of this incorrect "tax increase" phrasing could lead to poor budget policy decisions.
Council on Public Policy, LLC