Tue., April 30, 2013 2:42pm (EDT)

Sequestration Could Soon Impact Counties
By Claire Simms
Updated: 1 year ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.   —  
State legislators would have to approve any tax increases on the local level to help make up for sequestration cuts.
State legislators would have to approve any tax increases on the local level to help make up for sequestration cuts.
The effects of sequestration could soon be felt at the county level.

Matthew Chase, Executive Director of the National Association of Counties, visited Savannah Monday to talk to members of Georgia’s Association County Commissioners.

Chase said sequestration will leave budget holes that counties cannot fill on their own.

“I think we’re going to feel it right away and you’re going to see it first with the state and local reductions to themselves, to the government and then you will see it into the communities itself,” Chase explained. “The delivery of service will be cut back in the next couple of weeks and then I think by the fall people will start to really realize the impact.”

County commissioners will have to make cuts rather than find additional tax revenue because counties cannot increase tax rates without state approval.

“There are a lot of states where the Governors and the legislature have told the counties they cannot increase local tax and property tax and that they have to live within their means,” said Chase. “That’s easy to say, but counties have to balance their budget and we really are very limited in our revenue options. So, people will see a decline in services. County commissions are having to make extremely difficult decisions on what they cut.”

County services include law enforcement, public health, courts and records.