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Letter To The Editor: Sen. Chip Rogers Urges 'Yes' on HOST

The senate majority leader writes in favor of the homestead option sales tax, calling it "true tax reform."

The following is an opinion piece written by State Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) in favor of the proposed Homestead Option Sales Tax, which will be on the Nov. 6 ballot for Cherokee County residents to consider.

The incredible honor of serving in the legislature for the last decade has given me first hand contact with thousands of fellow Cherokee Countians. One message that has become crystal clear from voters is the need for tax reform. 

On Nov. 6 we will go to the polls and choose whether to shift from a property tax to a sales tax for funding our local Cherokee County government. The question is whether to vote “Yes” or “No” on the HOST (Homestead Option Sales Tax). 

In deciding on HOST, we will answer a fundamental question, is there a better way to collect taxes than taxing private property? 

If we approve HOST, an additional 1% sales tax will be collected throughout our County. The tax will be collected in the same manner as current optional sales taxes, like SPLOST and E-SPLOST. Every dollar collected will then go to reduce property taxes! 

The process for property tax reduction is fairly straightforward. 

First, the county portion of property tax, for every homestead property, will be eliminated. This is expected to account for about 60% of all tax dollars collected.

Second, the remaining tax dollars will go to reduce the county portion of non-homestead property taxes by more than half. 

What does this mean for the average Cherokee County homeowner? 

It is estimated overall tax burden for the average homeowner will be reduced almost $100. This takes into account the average savings from the reduction in property tax and the average increase from the 1% sales tax.  

If the taxes collected through the 1% sales tax equals the property tax reduction how are there savings for Cherokee homeowners? 

It’s estimated somewhere between 15%-20% of purchases in Cherokee County are from non-Cherokee homeowners. These are people who use some Cherokee County government services, but who pay no Cherokee property taxes. By implementing the HOST it shifts tax burden from Cherokee Homeowners to non-Cherokee residents. 

Most economists agree that proper taxation should have certain characteristics. First it should be transparent. Taxpayers should be able to readily see how the system works. Second, it should be fair. Exemptions, favors, and government picking “winners & losers” should be eliminated. Third, it should be easy to understand. Simplicity encourages compliance and lessens the need for a government “tax collection” bureaucracy. 

The HOST offers Cherokee County voters opportunity to move away from convoluted, unfair, and bureaucracy laden property taxes to simpler, more fair, and easy to understand sales tax. A dollar-for-dollar shift away from property tax to a sales tax, with about 15% to 20% of the burden being shifted from Cherokee homeowners to non-Cherokee residents. 

The choice on how we tax ourselves is ours. The decision is on Nov. 6.

Senator Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock)

Carla Palmieri October 29, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Would HOST replace the current SPLOST penny we pay now or add to it? If it adds and raises our sales tax to 7%, won't that encourage our residents to do major spending in neighboring counties where the sales tax is only 6% or even 5% (as in Cobb County right down the road)? I'm afraid raising our sales tax would discourage spending in Cherokee County, reducing the spending here at home, which will lead to another tax increase next time to make up the lost revenue! Then, we haven't saved anything and our overall burden would increase in the long run! Is this what we want? A break now, causing further deficit and higher taxes later?? And, what about the huge number of non-homeowner residents? Are they going to move out of our county in the next few years to save money overall? Are we trying to fix deficits or chase away current residents? Why don't we try spending within our means and not placing further burden on our already strapped residents? We have had to reduce our spending with the reduced economic conditions, why isn't our government doing the same? And, one would have to spend $10,000 to a year to break even with the average savings of $100 per year on our property taxes! What home value its the $100 figure based on? The quarter million dollar home?
Kristal Dixon (Editor) October 29, 2012 at 02:22 PM
No, the HOST does not replace the current SPLOST or the E-SPLOST.
Kathleen A. October 29, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Carla, you stated exactly what I was thinking as I read this foolish blog. As a single mom I need to budget every penny and driving the short distance to another, lower tax county would be an attractive alternative for me, thus, taking income away from the county in which I live. While I would sorely dislike moving out of the Cherokee County school district something like this during this time of economic difficulties would have me packing out of necessity. What in the world is this man thinking? There are far better solutions he can utilize and entice the people with, so why look to something that will most certainly cause hardship for the residents of Cherokee?
Common Sense October 29, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Coming from a 'Constitutional Conservative' who supports CHANGING the constitution on Nov. 6th (Amendment 1 - VOTE NO), and wants to add an additional 1% to our local sales tax. Way to go, Cherokee County, for voting Chip Rogers back into office. I proudly voted NO to both Amendment 1 and HOST last week. Join me!
Frank Jones October 29, 2012 at 04:18 PM
As a fiscally conservative yet socially progressive independent, I have to say that we should all vote NO! Chip Rogers, the Board of Commissioners, and the county CFO are all trying to pull the rug over our heads by claiming that HOST will reduce our taxes. While technically true, property tax bills will go down, our sales tax bills WILL GO UP! HOST will be an ADDITIONAL 1% sales tax and will only reduce the county's portion of M&O property taxes...and ONLY IF the county doesn't ever increase the county portion M&O millage rate. Yes, the M&O tax will remain and they will have the discretion to increase the M&O millage at any time. I spoke with a lady in the county tax office recently and she implied that Cherokee County would increase the M&O rate like other counties have. In effect, the county will be able to continue receiving M&O in addition to receiving this new 1% sales tax. The tax is also called "revenue neutral" and technically it is in the big picture. However, it's the details that shows that it isn't "revenue neutral" for individuals. For renters, those with modest homes, and those with large families, the extra 1% sales tax will cost more than the M&O savings!! Those owning large homes, commercial properties, farms and acreage will see huge tax savings-thousands/tens of thousands. "A fool and his money are soon parted" applies to anyone who votes for HOST. Vote "NO" on Amendement 1, Amendment 2, and HOST.
Georgia Moderate October 29, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Rogers is completely out of touch with the will of the electorate. Perhaps he should consider a career change before he and his lackeys are run out of the county.

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