Williamson County’s proposed budget for 2011-12 includes employee raises, new voting machines, nine new county positions and extra money to pay for fuel increases. Commissioners don’t yet know how they will pay for all of it.
The budget of about $129.55 million spends about $4 million more than the county expects to get in revenue, assuming the current tax rate is not increased. It would increase spending about $5.19 million over this year’s budget, a 4.1 percent increase.
Options for officials for closing that potential gap include cutting spending, increasing the tax rate, using county reserves to make up the difference or some combination of cuts and tax increases. County staffers did not propose a possible tax rate when they presented the budget Tuesday.
Of course Precinct 4 County Commissioner Ron Morrison knows exactly who must pay for this. That’s right, the least among us.
Commissioner Ron Morrison said he didn’t know specifically what could be cut. “The only thing in jeopardy might be the public assistance contracts,” he said. Those contracts include the money that the county provides to social service agencies. [Emphasis added]
Why do they always come after the neediest first?
Certainly in Williamson County, still a growing county despite the economic conditions, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the budget is rising. More people means more sheriff, fire, and EMS personnel, etc…and that costs money. What should shock everyone is that the first place they’re looking to make up the difference is from those who are already struggling the most, and not from those who have already have more than they need.
The county should look at instituting a progressive, or graduated, tax structure. One where those who have more will pay a little more, so we can stop balancing budgets on the backs of poor, working, and middle class tax payers while letting the wealthiest off without paying their fair share.
This is not a done deal by any stretch and I would urge any and all Williamson County residents to mark August 30th on their calendar, when there will be a public hearing on the budget. Also contact County Judge Dan Gattis and your commissioner, info here.
View the budget data thus far here.
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