A group of Democratic and Republican county officials from across metro Atlanta has asked Gov. Nathan Deal to veto a proposal that would prevent Fulton County from raising property taxes, saying the bill is “bad for the county and bad for the state.”
On Tuesday, Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves gave the governor a letter signed by nine elected officials opposed to House Bill 604, which would prohibit a Fulton tax increase for the next two years and require a supermajority of commissioners to raise taxes thereafter. They said in the letter that the legislation could open the door to more state-level interference in local government.
Democrats have decried the move as unnecessary and punitive. And Fitch Ratings recently cited HB 604 in downgrading Fulton County’s credit rating. Now local Republicans as well as Democrats have added their voices to the opposition.
It was signed by Eaves and fellow Democrats such as DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, but also by Republicans such as Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee and Fayette County Chairman Steve Brown. Chairmen from Cherokee, Clayton, Douglas, Forsyth and Rockdale counties also signed. Gwinnett County Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, a Republican, is expected to express her concerns to Deal separately.
“[W]e believe HB 604 violates the letter and spirit of home rule,” the officials wrote to Deal. “Passage of this bill sets a dangerous precedent for legislative interference in other counties and the impact on Fulton County services will have a ripple effect throughout the region.”