Letter to the Editor

Editor’s Note: Councilman Doug MacGinnitie’s letter below was sent in response to a question from this publication following a vote by the Sandy Springs City Council to do a partial rollback of property tax revenues for the 2008-2009 budget. City council has since decided, by a 5-1vote at its June 2 meeting, not to roll back the tax revenues. MacGinnitie was the lone vote for the rollback.

To the editor:

What are you going to do with your $40 tax rebate?

First of all, let’s call a spade a spade. The city’s property tax revenue on an overall basis is going up. We are not lowering property taxes overall (though undoubtedly many individuals will see a decrease), we are lowering the rate of increase in the taxes we collect. Property taxes collected by the city are budgeted to increase from $27.3 million to $28.6 million.

Second, the council’s proposed decision (it is not final until the final budget is approved) is a small step—but it is an important one. As I stated at the council meeting, one of the reasons it is hard to be fiscally disciplined as a government is that the benefit is spread over the entire taxpayer base. So when you divide up $1.3 million that we will not take from our taxpayers, it doesn’t seem like a lot. But the citizens and business of Sandy Springs will do the same thing the city would have done with the $1.3 million—spend it. But now the $1.3 million will be spent on goods and services that will help out our local businesses—at a time in our economy when they especially need it.

I am not under any illusion that the Council’s step will change the course of history. We are a small piece of the puzzle. But that is no reason to say “It doesn’t matter what we do.” Imagine if every layer of government worked to operate as efficiently as Sandy Springs and was taking the same step we are taking – instead of talking about $40 that is being left with the taxpayers, we would be talking about $400 or $4000.

As I tell my kids when we talk about their future, small steps in the right direction, done over and over again, accumulate to make an enormous difference.

Doug MacGinnitie, Dist. 1
Sandy Springs City Council