We got a little ink in the Chattanooga Times-Free Press this week when we were contacted about a deal that Catoosa County in north Georgia put together for Costco:
Under the contracts agreed to Friday, the county will buy the land slated for Costco for $4.8 million, spend $4.5 million to improve it and then sell it to Costco for $4.8 million.
To bring the retailer to their county, Catoosa proposes to raise the millage rate to generate the $4.5 million, but offset the increase with sales tax pennies from their Local Option Sales Tax (LOST). County officials have told taxpayers that it will essentially be a washâ€¦ no cost to them.
There are several things wrong with the proposal, not the least of which is the notion that the sales tax will completely offset the taxpayersâ€™ obligation. Sure, the LOST (which must be used for millage rollback) may offset the tax increase, but exactly who will be paying that penny sales tax at Costco and other county merchants? Right, the property owners.
In essence, the property taxpayer will be â€œpaid back,â€ to a certain extent, the tax increase with his own sales tax pennies.