By Michaela Kron
The state budget likely will be cut by 10 percent or more this year due to falling revenues, District 80 Rep. Mike Jacobs told Brookhaven residents recently.
“The cuts are going to be painful. I don’t think there’s any getting around that,” Jacobs told members of the Ashford Alliance Community Association.
But cuts to the state’s $18 billion budget, Jacobs argued, are better than the alternative – raising taxes.
“In a down economy like this, you’ve got two choices,” he said. “You can cut the budget or you can raise revenues, which is a euphemism for raising taxes. I personally don’t believe that it’s the right time to raise taxes ever, but particularly now it’s not the right time to raise taxes because just as state revenues are down, families’ budgets are down.”
During the association’s meeting, Jacobs also said he felt confident a transportation financing plan would pass the state Legislature this year. Gov. Sonny Perdue recently proposed a $300 million package that includes bonds to pay for immediate transportation needs and a regional penny sales tax to pay for long-range needs. The sales tax would require voter approval within a region.
“If the region votes it up, you get the benefit of that penny; if the region votes it down, you don’t get the benefit of that penny,” Jacobs said. “At the end of the day, the region most likely to vote it up obviously is metro Atlanta.”
During his presentation, Jacobs also proposed capping property tax assessment increases at 3 percent a year and reducing the MARTA board from 15 to seven members, with two each appointed from Atlanta and DeKalb and Fulton counties and one appointed by the state.