Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 604 effectively placing a freeze on property taxes in Fulton County for the next two years. The controversial bill states that the Fulton County Commission may not raise property tax rates until 2015. After that, a raise in property taxes would require a minimum of 5 of 7 commissioner votes.
Republican lawmakers from Fulton County believe this will serve as a wake-up call to the County Commission as well as put an end to wasteful spending. The property tax revenue, which comprises most of Fulton County’s general fund, is seen as the best way to limit expenditures, which Governor Deal says are disproportionate to other areas of similar size.
Critics of the policy say that the tax freeze will have far reaching consequences including decreased funding to Grady Hospital, a public hospital which operates within Fulton County, as well as other popular services provided to residents. Additionally, Fulton County Democrats are claiming the bill is just a hasty response to a non existent problem and that property taxes haven’t been raised since 1991. Democrats are not the only opponents of the law, however, as some Republicans in Fulton County believe that this meddling of the state government into local affairs will set a dangerous micromanaging precedent.