It’s time for Columbus to bring forth what was once put on hold: growth, affordability, and yes, fairness. We can achieve each of these things by thawing the freeze. We can no longer sit by and continue to have a stagnant, unfair property tax base and government budget shortfalls. We can no longer sit by and have the American Dream of home ownership out of reach.
Currently, we have homeowners living in $250,000 homes, paying the same amount of property tax as someone living in a $100,000 home. Last time I checked, this would be called regressive taxing and not progressive taxing. And, my fellow Columbus citizens, we are anything but regressive.
Thawing the freeze would ensure that our property tax system is progressive, ensuring each Columbus citizen pays their fair share, and by grandfathering in those who have the freeze, we protect those that have relied on it.
Our current property tax system does not ensure affordability. As a realtor, I see so many families that cannot do what so many others seek: own a home. New buyers bear the tax burden under our current property tax system. Property taxes are set at a higher rate for new buyers to offset losses incurred by frozen property taxes. In fact, the tax for new buyers is so high that it increases their mortgage note to the point that a family is essentially priced out of the housing market.
Columbus, we are better than this. It is imperative that Columbus citizens vote to thaw the freeze.
Chester Randolph, Columbus
Mayor Tomlinson and Thaw the Freeze Committee has declared war on 12,000 households or 25% of homeowners subsidized by the other 75% homeowners! This mentality is flawed because all 100% of homeowners are under the Tax Freeze. What they forgot to tell you is that when the Tax Freeze was implemented in 1982, the following year in 1983 they passed the Local Option Sales Tax to offset the freeze, a 1% sales tax that now garners $36 million annually for operation and maintenance. Mayor Tomlinson has campaigned that 25% of those homeowners are not paying their fair share. I beg to differ. For over the last two decades they have paid 1% sales taxes that have paid for multiple city/school board SPLOSTs equating from $12,000 to $20,000 per household building schools and city projects. This 25% also is comprised of thousands of disabled veterans who have sacrificed for our country and those over 65 who are under a certain income threshold.
Mayor Tomlinson’s thinking is flawed by punishing the new homeowners who are not under the freeze; meanwhile she and her supporters will all enjoy the tax freeze on their homes.
Mayor Tomlinson and supporters have repeatedly made comments that they will reduce taxes. They had their chance with the OLOST (Other Local Option Sales Tax) and only gave us the minimum property tax roll-back mandated by the state for only one year; since then they have used this sales tax as a slush fund!
Mayor Tomlinson needs to let everyone know about the City’s bond downgrade by Moody’s and the Medical Center Authority’s/Columbus Regional Hospital bond downgrade by Fitch. We don’t have a problem with revenue; they have a problem of spending! Vote No on November 8!
Paul S. Olson, Upatoi
I am voting No to Thaw the Freeze and I am encouraging others to. The Georgia Supreme Court ruled that the Homestead Exemption was fair because all can get it when they buy a house. When that ruling was challenged and went to the Supreme Court of the United States, it was sent back down to the State court whose ruling stands.
Are the people backing this thaw aware that our policemen might be impacted? If the freeze is lifted, it endangers the 1% tax that helps to fund our police force. That 1% tax was allowed partially because Columbus already had a tax freeze. In these times of increased crime rates, you would think that the backers of the thaw would want their police to be well paid and well equipped. I know that I do, so I will vote No.
Beverly Krause, Columbus
I was pleased that Medicaid expenditures are settling down (10-13). I was not happy that enrollment is slowing as well.
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has covered an additional 20 million people. But 30 million people, the majority of whom are working but uninsured, remain without healthcare coverage.
At the same time, our cost per capita for healthcare is double that in other developed nations. These other countries have single-payer or something like it, which covers everyone. For example, in 2013, the cost in the USA was $8,713. In Canada, it was $4,351. It was only $3,453 for the average developed nation. And outcomes as measured by morbidity and mortality are better in all of these countries, as opposed to what some politicians would have you believe.
Isn't it time that we got our politicians to stop taking money from the insurance and big pharma lobbies and start doing what is right: Medicare for all?
Jack Bernard, Peachtree City