Controversy over balancing Smith County budget

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - TYLER, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas organization is joining the fight against the proposed budget splitting Smith County Commissioners' Court.

A public hearing gave Grassroots America: We the People a chance to speak against the property tax increase in the proposed budget. Members packed the courtroom, stressing the tax rate impact on small businesses asking commissioners to look elsewhere for budget cuts.

The court is considering a property tax increase of up to $.33 from the current rate of $.29.

"Small businesses and homeowners can not take tax increases of this size from every local taxing entity in Smith County because what will happen is you will push some small businesses out of business and their goes your tax base...shrinking," said JoAnn Fleming, with Grassroots America.

"The commissioners are going to go back to the table and we're going to try and reach a common ground," said JoAnn Hampton, with Smith County Pct. 4. "We've got to reach a common ground first and so we will go back to the table and we will work on that."

The court does not have much longer to reach that common ground. The state mandates the budget for the upcoming year must be adopted by August 31. If the court can't come to a vote, the budget will be decided upon by the district judges.

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