Now this is a provocative headline:
Talk about evoking some strong imagery. Gone With the Wind, anyone?
Turns out they’re really talking about money… and as is all too often the case, it’s the suburbs that have it, and the urban area that doesn’t:
Legislation that would allow the suburbs to form their own county, to be called Milton County, was introduced by members of the Georgia Legislature’s Republican majority earlier this month.
Supporters say it is a quest for more responsive government in a county with a population greater than that of six states. Opponents say the measure is racially motivated and will pit white against black, rich against poor.
It seems that Milton County wouldn’t actually be “new”; it apparently existed once before, but was folded into Fulton County in the 1930s due to “financial troubles during the Depression”.
Evidently, they’ve managed to get their fiscal feet firmly beneath them again and are now ready to fly from the nest. Unfortunately, the urban area from which they wish to be emancipated (so to speak) is poor and predominantly black.
This is sad, actually, because in urban settings, the terms “poor” and “black” are effectively synonymous, and thus there is validity to the race-based accusations. Deliberately racist? Maybe not — but the net impact is likely to be the same regardless.
I understand the suburbanites’ desire to get more bang from their tax bucks, but if they get their way, Fulton County will apparently lose nearly half of its property tax base:
Residents of north Fulton represent 29 percent of the county’s population of 915,000 but pay 42 percent of its property taxes, according to a local taxpayers group. A split would lead to the loss of $193 million in property taxes alone for Fulton County.
Fulton County has good reason to be concerned about this, because we already know exactly what will happen to Atlanta’s urban area. We all saw that future on television after Katrina — in New Orleans.
This is not a good idea.
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It’s telling that our state only makes the internet buzz on good ol’ fashioned racial issues. Whether they are ginned up or actual, maybe all of us, both sides, should learn something, step up and do something about it.