I have two boys in middle school in Cobb. Three years ago our family moved to a much smaller home because it would provide the best educational opportunity for our children. I’m writing concerning the proposed tax abatement issue recommended by the Cobb Development Authority for the ‘Riverwalk’ project.
I do not think the tax abatement for the Riverwalk development is warranted and I think the unelected Development Authority should not be able to supersede the school system’s tax authority. I think tax breaks for developers should be used sparingly and should be focused on new development and industry. I also question the minimum requirements. I think the formula should be more robust, not simply based on 25 new jobs and increasing the tax digest by $500,000.
Similarly, I think any tax abatement should be proportional, rather than an “all or nothing” approach. There may be cases where a small company could create 20 new jobs and contribute $200,000 of taxes. Perhaps it would be warranted to grant such a company an abatement of $50,000 to induce them to build in Cobb.
I am very proud of the direction and action the Cobb School Board has taken to challenge the process. I believe the board is acting in the best interests of the students, and ultimately in the best interest of the county. I think most would agree that Cobb’s school system is one of the biggest attractions to the county for both business and people.