Chamber of Commerce continues to monitor city’s proposed tax hike

TaMaryn Waters, Tallahassee Democrat

On Friday, Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce officials weighed in on this week’s decision to pare down next year’s property tax hike from 27 percent to 23 percent for businesses and property owners.

A tax increase, which city officials say is necessary to fund more police officers, has drawn mixed reaction from local businesses.

Chamber chairman Rick Moore said the chamber generally opposes “this kind of tax increase.” But, in a written statement, he noted a need for increased spending on public safety and said the city deserves credit for putting more priority of improving public safety.

The chamber’s board of directors hasn’t officially taken a stance on the city’s proposed tax hike, but chamber officials wanted to release a preliminary stance on the issue following Wednesday’s City Commission meeting.

“We emphasize the need for the city to minimize any tax increase and immediately begin an across-the-enterprise review to identify and implement spending reductions,” Moore said. “Future budget increases should be funded through belt-tightening as opposed to turning to a millage increase.”

The next scheduled chamber board meeting will be in August; however its executive committee may meet sooner to discuss the tax proposal issue via phone, said Chamber President and CEO Sue Dick.

“The business advocacy committee will continue to follow and encourage city staff and commission to identify ways to minimize any proposed and future millage increase impact to the business community,” she said.