Proud of school board for opposing tax break
January 16, 2014 11:55 PM | 2061 views | 1 1 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Editor’s note: The following letter was received before news Thursday that developer John Williams had withdrawn his request for a tax abatement for his “Riverwalk” project.

DEAR EDITOR:

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.

Thomas Johnston

Marietta
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January 17, 2014
You may be proud now but only time will tell if they made the correct decision. If the land lays vacant for ten years and others choose not to locate to Cobb because of better tax incentives elsewhere, then they ended up making a bad decision and we will all lose. We must be competitive and that seems a factor that has not yet been taken into consideration up to this point by you or the school board. There is a fine line of being smart or being taken advantage of. Let's hope they are making the correct decision.
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