Proposed tax increase would hurt families, businesses

Hello, my name is Austin James. I live and work here in the city of Marietta and I would like to share my thoughts on the proposed city tax increase. Marietta is a wonderful place that so many of us are proud to call home. It is also a great place for small businesses as it was recently recognized in the Small Business Revolution contest. We want Marietta to be a place where every day more people will want to come here and call it their home or be a place where someone starts a new business.

As some have already pointed out, if Marietta increases its city tax rates it discourages homeownership and job growth. The current city tax rate sits at 1.7 percent and the proposal is to increase it to 2.2 percent. It may not sound like much but when you really dig into it, the statistics are quite staggering.

Should this tax increase occur, not only would it be a 30 percent increase, but it would also have a surprising result for some average families in Marietta. An average family of four living in Marietta could potentially be paying more in their city taxes than they are currently paying in state taxes. Marietta city taxes also don’t allow for deductions which also factors into how the potential tax payer would be paying more in city taxes.

There is yet another way of looking at how this tax increase could affect someone. If a person works a 45-year career in Marietta, making the city’s average wages, an entire year of that person’s wages would go towards paying the proposed tax increase. When you see these statistics, it looks very worrisome for the progression of the city.

This doesn’t have to be the end all be all. I really feel this needs to be something that we as city have a good discussion about before going through with this. This isn’t intended as a personal attack on current city officials or anything like that as I realize there are tough decisions that must made by our public officials. I firmly believe that all other options need to be exercised before proposing this massive tax increase that would be a burden on so many living in our wonderful city. One measure I advocate is to create avenues to make it easier to understand the various city codes and regulations that a potential new business owner in Marietta must deal with. We need to do all we can to encourage job growth in our city. We need to increase our revenue sources rather than increase taxes.

If an increase of this magnitude is being proposed without an increase of the city’s average wages or population then there is only one other honest conclusion. Our city officials need to be more frugal with city spending. I know these officials love this city just as much as I do and certainly don’t want to see it struggle, but we must avoid financial hardship and do whatever we can to avoid financial distress.

In the end, the final decision on this tax increase is in the hands of you, the Marietta citizen. Rather you are against this increase or not, you need to do your part to vote on it, in this approaching primary. These kinds of elections where there are not any “major” political races going on typically have low turnouts. However, this is a very important issue. Make sure to get out and vote on this issue on May 2 Marietta!

Austin D. James is a candidate for Marietta City Council. He lives in Marietta.