It appears to me our local officials – as well as those in Washington -- have a knee-jerk reaction to raise taxes any time they don’t have enough cash to do whatever it is they want to do. Not long ago the City of Gainesville was planning next year’s budget, and learned they were not going to receive as much from property taxes as they wanted to spend, so they announced a “roll up” of taxes was “on the table”. It will just be a little increase, they said, maybe $100 a year for the average homeowner. That shouldn’t hurt anyone. Then next year’s operating budget for the Red Rabbit was in the red, so do they cut expenses? No. Now they are holding hearings to increase fares, hoping to get enough more money from an already scarce group of riders, to balance that budget. After all, they explained, old Red Rabbit hasn’t had a fare increase in 10 years. Then, during a planning meeting at Brasstown Valley resort, up pops an increase in water rates. It will increase only 3% for water, and 3.5% for sewer, and that is good news because it is less than previously had been expected. The latest one is a proposed increase in Gainesville’s annual business occupation fee. This little increase is needed because of a new state law having to do with immigrants. The city has some extra records to keep, and part of the problem is that businesses are not correctly filling out the 15-page document required. And I say: wait a minute. Who is paying our small businesses to fill out all that red tape? To paraphrase a former Speaker of the House: a hundred dollars here, and a hundred there, and pretty soon it adds up to real money. Taxpayer money.
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