John Eaves condemns state's rejection of Fulton's tax digest
School systems, sans tax cash, taking state to court
Sean Keenan/CL file
The Georgia Department of Revenue's rejection of Fulton County's proposed tax digest has left local school systems in an economic rut.
When then-Fulton Commission Chairman John Eaves pitched a tax assessment "freeze" in June, he sought to quell worries from county residents who saw their property assessments, and subsequently property taxes, skyrocket from years prior. So Eaves, now a candidate for Atlanta mayor, is wagging a finger at the "unforgivable" action of the revenue department.
"What the state did is unforgivable, and has caused chaos and disrespects the thousands of people impacted at our local schools, the City of Atlanta, Fulton County and other cities that need to collect taxes to pay their bills," Eaves said in a statement. "When teachers don't get their paycheck due just before Christmas, they can lay the blame at the doorstep of the Georgia Department of Revenue and its Commissioner Lynne Riley."
Eaves said it was Riley's team that initially OKed his plan to stunt property assessments, and Fulton County and Atlanta Public Schools now say their wallets are thinning because tax cash isn't being funneled into system coffers.
When Eaves first lobbed the assessment halt idea, APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen took issue with the radical approach. In an recent statement, she said she wished the temporary plan left room for some housing market growth. "When the Fulton County Commission considered freezing a portion of the county's tax digest for reassessed residential properties, Atlanta Public Schools took a strong stance in support of the county adopting a digest with a reasonable amount of growth," she said. "The commission instead opted to freeze assessments at fiscal 2016 levels."
APS is considering employee furloughs to compensate for the lack of funds.
Say Fulton County and Atlanta Public Schools to the state: We'll see you in court.