I think it is time that we re-examine the merging of Chattanooga and Hamilton County as both entities seem to have gone amok. The county is trying to tax us to death with increases. It indirectly increased taxes by 10% through a windfall by not lowering the required millage rate in 2017 after property values rose by 10%.
They may brag about it being only an $85 increase per $100,000 in value but that amount actually represents a 12%-plus rate increase. What is the county doing with that 10% extra revenue last year, and where is that extra 10% going this year?
Now the city is finding a new way to indirectly tax its residents by endorsing a company that warranties extended sewer lines for $107.88 a year, of which the city will get a portion in royalties. Again, this is in addition to the annual increases in our sewer bills (last year it was 15%). Our sewer bill is now 152% of our water bill.
Maybe we can combine these two governments and use the savings to fund all the programs that we seem to need so desperately, or we can just do what the residents do and learn to live within our means.
Chamber supports schools budget ask of $34 million
The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's mission is to champion our member businesses and promote regional economic growth. Cultivating a well-qualified workforce is imperative to successful economic development efforts, and quality public education is critical to fulfilling our mission.
We believe Hamilton County students need the tools to learn and graduate ready for the 21st century workplace. These students are the future lifeblood of our workforce.
Business community tax assessments comprised 49% of the 2018 Hamilton County Schools operating budget, county records show. Our businesses play a critical role in educating our students. Given these facts, it's important for the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce to weigh in on the public discussion about how our tax dollars are spent.
Given the strong accountability measures laid out in the Future Ready 2023 plan and the progress shown thus far, we agree with Superintendent Bryan Johnson that now is the time to invest in public education.
After polling our membership, a majority of respondents support the Chattanooga Chamber endorsing Johnson's requested budget. As our county commissioners carefully consider their decisions, it is our hope that they will support what we believe is the path to a successful and prosperous future by fully funding the proposed budget.
President & CEO
Free Press cartoon totally missed the mark
Apparently the conservative cartoonist Michael Ramirez (Thursday cartoon, page B7) is unaware that the "latest generation" is courageously fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Niger. All of whom are there because they volunteered to be in the armed forces.
Ramirez and the Free Press editor owe the latest generation an apology.
Hits and misses on editorial pages
Thank you, Free Press editorial page Editor Clint Cooper for your editorial on Memorial Day. You wrote about the courage of the men who risked and lost their lives for America. All people need to be grateful for these men.
Shame on you, Chattanooga Times Editor Pam Sohn. On Memorial Day you wrote about your hate for our President Trump. You have so much hate for him you cannot let it go. This just shows where your heart and soul are; they are not with America. You could not stop your hate to honor those who risked and lost their lives for us, so you could have freedom of speech. I lost my father in World War II.