Chattanooga's 19% Tax Increase to Fund Government Employee Raises
Residents of Chattanooga saw their property tax bill increase by 19%, thanks to city leaders who decided that in the midst of 8.4% unemployment and rising home foreclosures now was a good time to increase the tax burden on the citys taxpayers.
Chattanoogas families and small-businesses have weathered the economic storm of the last three years with tremendous resiliency. Yet, still too many individuals and businesses in the community are unable to make ends meet. In April alone there were over 100 Chattanoogans who had filed for bankruptcy.
It is preposterous that city leaders raised property taxes by 19% in order to turn around and give raises to city employees.
There is no excuse to increase the burden of government on Chattanooga taxpayers at this time, but it is even more ridiculous that the increased revenue went to salary increases. The City could have used the extra revenue to pay down the $850 million in total outstanding debt to decrease the Citys annual financing obligations. This would have reduced Chattanoogas long-term liabilities and freed up money in the annual budget.
Instead, taxpayers are shelling out more property tax money to fund salary increases for city employees.
Just to make sure everyones on the same page, residents of Chattanooga who are unemployed and underemployed, are paying more taxes to ensure public servants get a raise. Seems like Robin Hood in reverse.
No one denies that city employees deserve fair compensation for their work. Public and private sector employees are entitled to reasonable wages. The question we are raising is; is it reasonable to force taxpayers in Chattanooga – with a median household income just north of $35,000 – to pay an extra 19% in property taxes for city employee raises?
During a difficult economy, when thousands in Chattanooga are out of work and are barely paying the mortgage, is it right to increase the tax burden to fund raises for other people?
Especially when some city employees have already received $5,000 pay boosts last Christmas.
Simply put, increasing taxes on the unemployed to give raises to city workers is wrong.